Borrower Defense makes the use of student loans less confusing.Most of the borrowers do not know their student loan options.The borrower defense to repayment rule is a federal regulation governed by the U.S. Department of Education that allows federal student loan borrowers who were defrauded by institutions to seek full or partial forgiveness of those loans.
In September 2019,the department issued a new version of the rule that will apply to student loans disbursed by July 1,2020 or later, that will make it even harder for borrowers to get relief.
Borrowing from the FFEL and Perkins, the borrowers willing and able to consolidate into Direct consolidation loans may use the direct loan borrower defense process to seek relief, even before consolidating.
Table of Contents
- What is borrower defense?
- Eligibility to apply for borrower defense.
- Institutions having Borrower Defense program.
- Process to apply for borrower defense .
- Additional documents that can support my borrower Defense Application.
- Acceptance or Rejection for Your Borrower Defense for Repayment application?
- Consequences of Denied/Rejected Borrower Defense Application.
- What happens if you are not-eligible and can't pay back your loans?
- Commonly asked questions regarding forbearance and stopped collection Status.
- What to know about repayment?
- Information and Help.
What is borrower defense?
Borrower defense means borrowers may be eligible for student loan forgiveness if the federal student used to attend a school, and if that school misled or engaged them in misconduct in violation of certain laws.
A student can raise borrower defense claims (DTR) whether or not you are in default on the loans.
If you are successful on your borrower defense application, the government will forgive or cancel all or partial part of your loan, plus your loans may reimbursed for amounts you have already paid on those loans.
The borrower defense issued by the U.S Department of Education allows its federal student loan borrowers who were misguided by an institution or career school to seek forgiveness of those loans.
Eligibility for borrower Defense:
A borrower may be eligible for borrower defense if that borrower is a federal student attending an institution, to repay the federal loans you took to attend a school ; such as the now-closed Corinthian college,IIT Tech, American Career Institute “ACL”, DeVry University, The Art.
If a student is eligible to receive federal student loan forgiveness, it may be possible to cover all or part of your outstanding federal student loan debt forgiven, and may be reimbursed for amounts you have already paid on those loans.
Remember that, you will only be eligible for this type of federal student loan forgiveness if your school misleading activities or other misconduct relates to your loan or to educational services for which the loan was pleaded.
You will not be eligible for forgiveness that are directly related to your loan or the educational services provided by the school.Examples are; personal injury claims, claims on harassment and allegations .
Please note that, federal students who would like to apply for borrower defense against multiple schools that you attended for which you use federal student loans, then you must submit separate applications for different schools of attendance.
Worried about your borrower defense to repayment? Find the best student loans suited for you.
Institutions having borrower defense programs;
Some of the schools/colleges/University having the borrower defense program are as follows:
1)Corinthian Colleges (Everest College,Heald College,WyoTech)
2)IIT Educational Services,Inc.(IIT Tech, Daniel Webster College)
3)American Career Institute “ACI”
4)Education Management Corporation “EDMC” (The Art Institutes, Argosy University, South University, Brown Mackie College)
5)Adtalem Global Education, Inc., f/k/a DeVry Education Group Inc.(DeVry University, DeVry College of New York, Carrington College,Chamberlain University - College of Nursing, Keller Graduate School of Management, Rose University)
6)Apollo Education Group (University of Phoenix, Western International University)
7)Career Education Corporation “CEC” (American InterContinental University, Briarcliffe College, Brooks Institute, Colorado Technical University, Harrington College of Design, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Missouri College, Sanford-Brown College)
8)InfiLaw Corporation (Charlotte School of Law, Arizona Summit Law School, Florida Coastal School of Law)
9)Alta Colleges Inc. (Westwood College, Redstone College)
10)Graham Holdings, Inc.(Kaplan university, Kaplan College, Kaplan Career Institute, TESST College of Technology)
11)Globe Education Network (Globe University, Minnesota School of Business, Duluth Business University, Broadview University, Institute of Production and Recording).
Process to apply for Borrowers Defense:
The application process is online.
Inorder to apply for loan forgiveness based on “borrower defense” depends on your institution rules and implications. You can submit an application by:
1)Fulfill a complete online application form. Sign the form digitally. It's also useful to add documentation along with your application, by uploading scanned files or PDFs ready made before opening the form.
2)Next, by completing a fillable PDF application form, printing it, and signing on it. Then get a copy of the file for yourself first, then you need to send your completed form to the U.S. Department of Education by email to BorrowerDefense@ed.gov or by regular mail to U.S. Dept. of Education- Borrower Defense to Repayment, P.O. Box 1854, Monticello, KY 42633.
Also, if your application is through email, your signature should be an electronic version and be uploaded via an image file/picture file. Include any necessary or meritorious additional documents with your applications as well.
Note: When you submit a borrower defense application, it may have your federal student loans placed into forbearance and have any debt on your defaulted federal students loans stopped.
It is very important that you do not have to place your loans in forbearance or stopped collections because your U.S. Department of Education held federal loans will automatically be placed into one of these options.
Important additional documents that can support my borrower Defense Application:
The additional documents to submit as part of your borrower defense application are listed below:
Evidence of the documents that show your certification of study, your dates of enrollment at the school for which you are applying for borrower defense, which can include enrollment agreements, transcripts and registration proof,Materials which promote the school,E-mails with school officials and the school’s brochure, course catalog, or their manual.
How to know Acceptance or Rejection of Your Borrower Defense for Repayment application?
To know the application status of your Borrower Defense for repayment application, the U.S. Department of Education or your lender will inform or contact you once they have reviewed your application. They will inform you whether it was successful or denied. You can also check your student loan balance in case you were not notified or never receive a communication from the Department of Education (DoE).
Consequences of Denied/Rejected Borrower Defense Application:
If your loans are rejected or denied, it will not be discharged or allowed to and the forbearance or stopped collection status will finish. You will need to repay those loans,and all the interest that accrued during the forbearance ,and or stopped collections period.
What happens if you are not-eligible for Borrower Defense and can't pay back your loans ?
If you are one of the millions of federal students who cannot pay back their student loans, and you are not eligible for borrower defense for repayment of loan, then there are other variable options you can opt for. Find out more details on the Complete Guide to Student Loan Forgiveness to investigate options mentioned below:
The public service student loan forgiveness (PSLF) program offers loan forgiveness to those people only who work in the public sector. This program includes non-profit employees, for volunteers in the Peace Corporations, for public school staff and teachers, government employees, and among the others.
The Teacher Loan Forgiveness program offers a form of student loan forgiveness that is different from the Direct Loan or Obama Student Loan Forgiveness. This program also awards educators with a principal reduction of their federal student loans they have taken out. It focuses on encouraging students to pursue into educational fields of interest and incentivize teachers in teaching occupation.
The Disability discharge program helps borrowers suffering from a total and permanent disability (TPD) by offering a complete freedom or discharge on your federal student loans. However, most private lenders do not offer on disability discharge for private student loans except in some other programs handled by Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo, Discover, and New York Higher Education Services Corporation.
This program is not usual, might offer rarely, but it is possible to have your student loans discharged through bankruptcy.But, this process requires evidence and proving “undue hardship”, and may require hiring a student loan lawyer for this.
Check the other options available to you in terms of student loan forgiveness to see if you are eligible for existing programs that apply when borrower defense doesn’t. You can seek a job that offers student loan forgiveness as well.
Commonly asked questions regarding forbearance and stopped collection Status:
Here are some of the frequent questions and answers explained below:
What is forbearance status?
It means, you do not have to make payments on your loans and they will not default. Your loan servicer will notify you when your loans have been placed into forbearance.You can make payments until you're not notified with that notice.
What is Stopped Collection Status?
It means, the collection on your loans stop. The federal government will stop trying to take on your loan, including withholding money from your wages or income tax refunds. This will continue until your application process is complete.In case you have defaulted on your loans and are in rehabilitation plan, then contact your collection agency to see if entering into a stopped collections status will have negative results for your plan.
Interest will grow to accumulate on your federal student loans, including on subsidized loans.
If your application for borrower defense if rejected or only partially approved, then your interest during the application period will automatically be added to the amount owed when you entered forbearance and the total you owe might increase.
Thus,for federal student loans that are put into stopped collections status, the federal government or debt collection companies will stop trying to collect on the loan, including by not withholding money from your wages or income tax refunds, and will also continue until the borrower defense review process of your application is completed.
Also, if you previously defaulted on your federal student loans and have entered a rehabilitation plan, make sure you contact the collection agency you have set up that plan to find whether there may be negative consequences if you choose to enter stopped collection status.
Which of my federal student loans are eligible to go into either forbearance or stopped collection status?
So, if you choose forbearance or stopped collection status, it will affect all of your federal student loans that are owned by the ED, which is serviced by your federal student loan servicer.It means that loans are not eligible for borrower defense loan forgiveness, in cases such as
Loans which were taken out to attend another institution, and
Any loans you have for which you are not applicable for borrower defense.If your federal loan is into forbearance ,and that you have commercially held FFEL Program loans, then ED will request forbearance on your behalf.
Is it possible to remove partial or all of my federal student loans from forbearance or stopped collection status?
If you prefer the forbearance or stopped collections status to apply only to those federal student
Loans related to your borrower defense application, then you must contact your loan servicer after you get in touch from your loan servicer and your servicer confirms/accepts the forbearance or stopped collection status.
And if after loans enter into forbearance or stopped collection status, if at any time you want to remove all of your federal loans from either forbearance or stopped collections, it is must that you connect to your loan servicer.
Is it possible to make payments on my federal student loans that are in forbearance or stopped collection status?
Yes, You may.
However, it is not required to pay your loans while your federal student loans are in forbearance or stopped collection status. But, you are allowed to make payments on any of your loans that are required in forbearance or stopped collections, including payments for accrued interest on all of these loans in either of the two status, as mentioned above.
What happens if your borrower defense application against the institution is successful?
Then, your federal student loans related to your application may be discharged partially or completely. If your federal student loans are partially discharged, you will be responsible for repaying any amounts that are not discharged through borrower defense including any of the interests that were accumulated. In addition, the forbearance or stopped collections period for any of your other federal student loans will end. You will also be responsible for repaying any of those other loans and if applicable, the including interest that accrued during the period of forbearance or stopped collections status.
What happens if your borrower defense application against the institution is rejected?
Then, you do not receive or accept a discharge of any of your federal student loans. Your forbearance or stopped collections period will consume all your loans. You will also be responsible for repaying these loans, interests that accrued during the forbearance or stopped collection status period.
What to know about repayment?
The Department of Education offers a diversified variety of loan repayment options for standard, graduated, and extended repayment plans, which base your payments on your loan balance and interest rate, as well as other income driven repayment plans, which also base your payment on your income.
Remember, choosing your repayment plan that lowers your monthly payment amount may also increase the amount of interest you pay over time which sometimes is more. For more details about student repayment options, visit StudentAid.gov/manage-loans/beststudentloans/repayment/plans.
Also, if you do not start or resume repayment whenever necessary, your loans maybe put into default, subjecting your loans to collection activity that includes:
Administrative wage garnishment ( deducting money from your pay/income)
Offset of state and federal payments that were owed by you ( deduction of money you owed by the government)
Lastly, litigation (taking legal action against you).
Information and Help:
If you have more questions, you may connect to the borrower defense hotline 1-855-279-6207.
Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. eastern time.
Borrower Defense believes in empowering, educating ,finding solutions to consumers by providing details about the latest news and programs on student loans.
Remember that, you will only be eligible for this type of federal student loan forgiveness if your school misleading activities or other misconduct relates to your loan or to educational services for which the loan were pleased. So, Borrower Defense is one way out for student loan forgiveness.Exercise your options.