Elizabeth Warren wants former Corinthian Colleges students’ debt forgiven following fraud investigation

A lot has been made of college affordability and slashing tuition for public and community college this election season. But while that very important dialogue was going on, according to Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, students who attended the for-profit Corinthian Colleges were being cheated by the Education Department, which Warren claims has been “intentionally collecting on debt that it knows may be eligible for discharge.”

The progressive icon identified Corinthian College as “the large, for-profit educational outfit that filed for bankruptcy in 2015 amid findings from state and federal authorities that it had defrauded students” in a letter to the secretary of education she sent on Thursday. She demanded the agency cease collections on defaulted student loan debt from former students of the for-profit institution, which allegedly lured borrowers with false, inflated job placement and graduation rates.

Warren’s letter, which cites data the Department of Education gave to her staff, claims 80,000 former Corinthian students are facing collections on their loans, and could lose tax refunds, Social Security benefits, and face all kinds of other debt over student loans they were fraudulently offered. It also says 30,000 borrowers have already seen their tax refunds, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) payments, and other government benefits like Social Security seized in order to pay off their debts, according to Warren.

The same data found that just 4,000 Corinthian borrowers have “received relief” under the borrower defense discharge program.”It is unconscionable that instead of helping these borrowers, vast numbers of Corinthian victims are currently being hounded by the Department’s debt collectors — many having their credit slammed, their tax refunds seized, their Social Security and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) payments reduced, or their wages garnished — all to pay fraudulent debts that, under federal law and the Department’s own policies, are likely eligible for discharge and thus, invalid,” Warren wrote.

Additionally, the Massachusetts senator called for more transparency from the Education Department, requesting additional information about steps it has taken to offer relief to former Corinthian students, as well as students of other “predatory” schools and who are entitled to student loan discharges.

Warily eyeing the future of for-profit higher educational institutes, Warren called upon the department to “take additional steps to ensure that no other students are facing collections or shouldering debt that is eligible for discharge due to fraud perpetrated by for-profit colleges.”

As any modern day senator would, Warren then took her beef to the Twitter-sphere in an epic rant:

For-profit colleges reportedly have a long history of targeting low-income students and veterans in order to bring in federal student aid by “[taking] advantage of their insecurities and [misrepresenting] the outcomes they should expect as graduates,” according to Think Progress. Like Corinthian, EDMC, which runs the for-profit Art Institutes, has also been accused of recruiting students by offering inaccurate information about job placement rates.

In this sense, Warren’s war against debt predation of students by for-profit schools is more far-reaching than one battle against Corinthian Colleges.