Former students who attended the ITT Technical Institute – or ITT Tech – may be able to write off some or all of their student loans, thanks to a new rule against the now-defunct for-profit school.
ITT Educational Services – the parent company of ITT Tech – filed for bankruptcy in 2016. But many students ended up with millions of dollars in student loans for a school they no longer attend. Last year, ITT Tech settled a lawsuit with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), guaranteeing that 35,000 former students will have their student loans wiped out.
Here’s what the lawsuit says and which students can benefit from the settlement.
ITT Tech trial overview
Although ITT Tech filed for bankruptcy in 2016, hundreds of thousands of students were still on the verge of paying off their outstanding student loans. However, the 2018 lawsuit settlement allowed 750,000 students to write off their debt.
This lawsuit helped students who attended ITT Tech from 2006 to 2016, as well as other students who made payments after the company went bankrupt. Under the settlement, federal student loans were canceled, thanks to the “borrower’s defense” rule, which protects borrowers whose schools have misled them or engaged in wrongdoing.
However, private student loans do not offer this protection, leaving thousands of students still responsible for paying their loans. For example, Navigate still required payments even after the government paid off federal student loans and found ITT Tech guilty of fraud.
In June 2019, CFPB reached an agreement with ITT Tech that released approximately $ 168 million in private student loans. In August 2019, CFPB reached additional settlement, including a judgment against ITT for $ 60 million and an injunction prohibiting ITT from re-offering student loans.
In September 2020, CFPB reached yet another settlement, requiring ITT to give up $ 330 million in outstanding student loan balances. In total, ITT Tech has written off over $ 500 million in private student loan debt.
Who will get an ITT Tech refund?
Gallery: 6 Smart Ways to Spend Child Tax Credit Money (Money Talks News)
To see if you are eligible for your loan cancellation or repayment, you must first check if you meet certain conditions.
For federal student loans, you are eligible for a closed loan discharge if:
- You attended an ITT Tech school that closed (or it closed shortly after your withdrawal).
- You have not completed your study program.
This allows you to offload up to 100 percent of your federal student loans.
If you withdrew from ITT before May 6, 2016, completed a program at another institution, or completed all courses in your program (even if you did not graduate), you are not eligible to get your loans discharged.
If you have graduated but believe you have been the victim of ITT Tech fraud, you may be eligible for defending the borrower. The program has been plagued by delays and outright denials of relief in recent years, but the Biden administration recently announced that it will make forgiveness easier for eligible borrowers. The move is expected to affect 72,000 student loan borrowers whose borrower defense claims have been approved but not met.
Private student loan borrowers have similar loan cancellation requirements, but there is a good chance that a lender will contact you regarding your eligibility and you will not have to do anything on your own. However, if you haven’t heard from anyone, you may need to contact your loan officer to review your options. You can also contact the CFPB to see how to get relief.
If you attended ITT Tech and have outstanding student loans, you may be eligible for cancellation, discharge, or refund, depending on your loans and the status of your program. For most borrowers, you will be notified by PEAKS – a private student loan program that manages ITT Tech – or your loan manager if you are eligible for your student loan waiver. In most cases, you won’t have to do anything.
If you haven’t heard from anyone, you should contact your loan officer. Your service agent should be able to walk you through the process and know when you attended, if your loans are eligible for relief, and how much you are entitled to.
If you don’t get any help from your loan officer, you can fill out a borrower defense form or closed loan discharge to get help with your federal student loans. You may also be eligible for a state tuition recovery fund, depending on your school and your status.
Private student loan borrowers who do not receive assistance from loan officers may want to contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or a lawyer.