Since taking office, President Trump has approved this many applications for student loan forgiveness in cases of possible fraud.
That is according to Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), who released U.S. Department of Education records Wednesday and criticized President Trump and the U.S. Department of Education for the decision last month to delay and rewrite two Obama-rules that would have made it easier for student loan borrowers who were victims of fraud from their school to have their student loans forgiven.
“This response shows that while the Department of Education has illegally delayed the new borrower defense rule, it has also stopped processing federal student loan relief under current regulations for tens of thousands of defrauded borrowers,” Durbin said in a statement. “The department can’t ignore these borrowers any longer.”
In May, Durbin, along with four Democratic senators, wrote the Department of Education to inquire why student loan forgiveness for victims of fraud under the borrower defense rule have been delayed.
The Department of Education, through Acting Under Secretary James Manning, confirmed that no applications for student loan forgiveness under the borrower defense rule have been approved during the Trump administration.
The Obama administration approved more than 28,000 applications for student loan forgiveness totaling almost $600 million from former students of Corinthian College, a publicly traded, for-profit college that shut down in 2015.
Borrower Defense Rule
The borrower defense to repaying rule allow students to have their federal student loans forgiven if a school employed illegal or deceptive practices to encourage the students to borrow debt to attend the school.
The Obama administration negotiated the rule following the shut down of Corinthian and ITT Tech, another publicly-traded, for-profit college.
The borrower defense to repaying rule was scheduled to become effective July 1, but the Education Department announced that the rule’s effective date will now be delayed.
The Education Department announced earlier this month that it will give higher education institutions until July 1, 2018 to comply with disclosure requirements for the another Obama-era rule, gainful employment.
Student Loan Forgiveness Claims Pending
Student loan borrowers have submitted nearly 15,000 borrower defense applications this year to the Education Department, and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos assured those borrowers that their student loans will be discharged as expeditiously as possible.
Approximately 65,000 claims from students who attended Corinthian, ITT Tech, University of Phoenix, DeVry and other for-profit colleges have applications pending before the Education Department.
“Those to whom we’ve made commitments, we are going to make good on that commitment and that is in process,” DeVos said in May at a House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Education Department’s budget proposal.
The Education Department said that $143 million of interest has accrued while these borrowers have waited for their student loans to be forgiven.
While borrowers can place their student loans in forbearance while they wait for their applications to be approved, forbearance lasts for only six months.
Absent an extension, according to the Education Department, 31,000 student loan borrowers will be at risk of losing this grace period in six months.