SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced on Friday that 16,850 Washingtonians who attended any school owned by Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit college that engaged in deceptive conduct, will receive $157.9 million in relief.
The U.S. Department of Education discharged $5.8 billion nationwide in student loans for Corinthian College students across the country. Ferguson had been calling for this action from the federal government since 2016. He asserted, and the federal government finally agreed, that every borrower who attended Corinthian was subject to illegal conduct.
This discharge applies automatically — borrowers do not need to do anything to receive relief. This relief applies to all remaining loans for Corinthian Colleges, including for borrowers who have not yet applied for a “borrower defense” discharge. Corinthian owned and operated Everest College campuses in Everett, Fife, Tacoma, Bremerton, Renton, Seattle, and Vancouver until February of 2015 when they were sold to Zenith.
“Washingtonians’ student loan crisis is now $158 million smaller,” Ferguson said. “This is justice. The thousands of Washingtonians who were harmed by Corinthian’s illegal conduct deserve this relief from crushing student loan debt. Today’s outcome is the culmination of years of investigation and collaboration between the federal government, my office, and other state attorneys general. Betsy DeVos and the Trump Administration had every chance to take this action, and they refused. I applaud the Biden Administration for doing the right thing.”
Ferguson has previously called on the Department of Education to discharge federal student loans for former Corinthian students. In December of 2016, Ferguson sent a letter to department officials calling for automatic loan discharges for victims of Corinthian’s fraud. In 2017, Ferguson, along with other state attorneys general, submitted a joint request seeking group discharge for Corinthian borrowers in their states.
Ferguson’s work defending student loan borrowers
In January of this year, Ferguson obtained $45 million in debt relief from Navient, once the largest student loan servicer, as a result of his lawsuit against the company for its unfair and deceptive loan servicing practices. This included Washingtonians who took out private loans they could not repay from Navient’s predecessor, Sallie Mae, to attend Corinthian and other for-profit colleges.
Ferguson previously obtained millions of dollars in debt relief for thousands of student borrowers who attended for-profit colleges that used misleading and deceptive recruitment practices. He has also recovered almost $1.6 million cracking down on debt adjustment companies that charge fees to help borrowers consolidate their federal student loans and enroll in income-driven repayment plans — tasks that borrowers’ loan servicers can and should help them with free of charge.
To assist student loan borrowers in Washington, the Attorney General’s Office has compiled a Student Loan Survival Guide. This guide provides tips and links to resources to help high school students thinking about attending college, former college students who are not able to keep up with their payments, parents of students and everyone in between.