November 09, 2015

Members of Congress Urge Education Department to Grant Students Immediate Relief Following Federal Judge’s Ruling that Corinthian Colleges Broke the Law

Text of the letter (PDF)

Washington, DC -United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), along with House Committee on Financial Services Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), House Committee on Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-Va.), and 12 other congressional leaders on college accountability today sent a bicameral letter urging the Department of Education (ED) to grant immediate, class-wide relief to former Corinthian Colleges students following a recent federal district court ruling that the for-profit college chain broke federal consumer protection laws.

On October 27, a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois issued a default judgment against Corinthian Colleges, finding that it violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA) ban on deceptive practices by misrepresenting job prospects and career services available to students to induce them into taking on debt.   The company then engaged in predatory collections practices that directly interfered with the educational services for which students were paying.

"The law gives the Department broad authority to discharge loans when schools break the law, and we urge you to act to ensure that students receive the relief to which they are entitled under the law," the members of Congress wrote. "(T)he Department should rely on the Northern District of Illinois' judgment as sufficient proof of Corinthian's unfair and deceptive practices, thus warranting a defense to repayment for Corinthian students. This federal court ruling gives the Department a clear basis for implementing full, immediate, class-wide discharge to Corinthian's former students who were the victims of harmful and deceptive practices."

In addition to Senators Warren, Murphy, and Murray and Representatives Waters and Scott, the letter was signed by Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), & Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Representatives Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), and Janice Hahn (D-Calif.).

A PDF copy of the letter is available here.