Federal Debt Forgiveness for Closed Schools Affects Local Students

Federal Debt Forgiveness for Closed Schools Affects Local Students

Max Rodriguez

Many of Brightwood College students had just weeks left before finishing a medical assistant program, but the unexpected shut-down of the school and its parent company, education corporation of America, left thousands of students in limbo and in debt locally and nationwide, but not all may be lost.

Charles Roden was close to finishing his nine-month program at Brightwood College, we met on the day the school closed, Roden said, “We’ve heard that there could be a possible forgiveness for the loan to Brightwood but I find that skeptical.”

Roden’s high hopes were gone for some time, but news from the United States Department of Education may change how his unused loan is handled. A benefit from an Obama-era called the “Borrower Defense to Repayment” will benefit about 15,000 borrowers who were in for-profit schools that shut down.

A federal judge ordered the rule to be re-implemented and it announced it would cancel $150,000,000 in student loans.

Roden got an email from the federal department.

Roden said, “Summarizing that we are entitled to a debt forgiveness program through an application.”

His loans to Brightwood College may be forgiven but he said this is not the end of the story.

Roden said, “Your loan will be erased but you have to begin a new process and reapply, reapply for the grants, this does not recover the money that was paid directly to Brightwood.”

Besides the loss of money, Roden is also losing time and the credits he earned at Brightwood College. He said a separate for-profit college will only honor a couple of his credits, therefore if he wants a diploma, he would have to start from scratch.

“This was very important for me and I needed this validation from this program and its left me reeling,” Roden said. “I’ve had to seriously re-assess where I am going and what I am going to do and what is my future.”

Roden said he is still deciding what his next move will be, however, he is one of many in this situation, NBC News reports at least 100,000 students have outstanding claims against the institutions.