Biden Announces $6.1 Billion In Loan Forgiveness For Art Institute Students

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The Biden-Harris Administration announced over $6.1 billion in automatic debt relief to nearly 317,000 former students of The Art Institutes. This decision comes after findings that the school and its parent company, Education Management Corporation (EDMC), had engaged in deceptive practices about employment prospects and earnings following graduation.

From January 2004 to October 2017, The Art Institutes reportedly inflated employment rates and salary figures, misleading students about the actual value of their educational investment. This misinformation led students to incur substantial debt under false pretenses, burdening them financially and professionally.

These student loans were forgiven under a program called Borrower Defense To Repayment. This is part of a broader effort to crack down on for-profit colleges.

Borrower Defense Issues

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona emphasized that this move aims to correct over a decade of deceit that cost students billions of dollars. “For more than a decade, hundreds of thousands of hopeful students borrowed billions to attend The Art Institutes and got little but lies in return. That ends today—thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s work with the attorneys general offices of Iowa, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania,” he stated.

The approval for debt relief was supported by evidence from lengthy investigations by state attorneys general, which included internal documents and testimony revealing the extent of the misrepresentations. These investigations showed that The Art Institutes had claimed an 82% employment rate within six months of graduation for their students, a figure that drastically fell to no more than 57% when recalculated correctly. Furthermore, salary data was also found to be inflated, including extreme measures such as citing earnings of high-earning outliers like professional athletes to skew average income statistics.

This forgiveness includes the cancellation of the federal student loan balances for affected borrowers and refunds for payments previously made. Richard Cordray, Federal Student Aid Chief Operating Officer, noted, “We cannot replace the time stolen from these students, but we can lift the burden of their debt. We remain committed to working with our federal and state partners to protect borrowers.”

Biden Administration Loan Forgiveness Efforts

As part of its broader efforts, the Biden Administration has now nearly delivered $160 billion in student loan forgiveness to approximately 4.6 million borrowers. This total includes corrections for administrative failures, improvements to loan servicing practices, and forgiveness for borrowers who were misled by their institutions or whose schools abruptly closed.

The Department of Education will start notifying eligible borrowers immediately and has assured that affected individuals do not need to take any action to benefit from this relief. This initiative is reflective of an unwavering commitment by the administration to remedy the financial damages inflicted by predatory educational practices and ensure a fairer higher education landscape.

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