Biden Cancels $1.5 Billion of Student Loans for Former Westwood College Students

Defrauded students who attended Westwood College get a full discharge of federal student loans taken out to attend the school.

By , Attorney · University of Denver Sturm College of Law

On August 30, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education announced that $1.5 billion of student loan debt will be discharged under the borrower defense to repayment rule for 79,000 defrauded borrowers who attended Westwood College.

Who Qualifies for a Westwood College Loan Discharge

The Department said it would discharge all remaining federal student loans for borrowers who enrolled in any location of Westwood College, including enrollment in an online program, between January 1, 2002 through November 17, 2015. The school stopped enrolling new students on that date and shut its doors in 2016.

Around 79,000 borrowers, whether or not they've applied for a borrower defense discharge, get relief. You don't have to take any additional steps to get a discharge.

Westwood College's Conduct Leading to the Student Loan Discharges

The Education Department found that Westwood misled prospective students by misrepresenting that its credentials would help students' career options and earning potential. Specifically, Westwood promised that potential students would be employed in their field within six months after graduation and that a Westwood degree would make them "employable for the rest of [their lives]."

The Education Department also found that Westwood made widespread, substantial misrepresentations to students that its criminal justice program would allow them to get jobs as police officers in Illinois. But Westwood didn't have the accreditation necessary to meet state employment requirements.

Other Student Loan Relief Under the Biden Administration

The Department of Education under President Biden has canceled billions of dollars in federal student loan debt.

In addition, the American Rescue Plan Act exempts student debt forgiveness from federal taxation until January 1, 2026, and covers Direct Loans, FFELs, and private student loans. (Forgiven amounts might be taxable in some states.)