(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden today urged the U.S. Department of Education to cancel federal student loan debt of those who attended ITT Technical Institute. The defunct for-profit school defrauded thousands of individuals by encouraging them to enroll and borrow loans based on false and misleading information about the value of an ITT Tech degree and empty promises of high-paying jobs after graduation.
The borrower defense application filed today by a bipartisan coalition of 24 attorneys general includes students who attended ITT Tech between at least 2007 and 2011 when the company used deceptive tactics to convince students to attend the school and borrow federal student aid. This widespread and pervasive misrepresentation violated the Idaho Consumer Protection Act and Idaho Rules of Consumer Protection.
Federal law permits the Department of Education to forgive federal student loans when borrowers were deceived in obtaining the loans. The attorneys general are requesting full relief to ITT Tech students, including refunds of the money students already paid on those loans.
“It’s unfortunate these students were misled as to the value of an ITT Tech education,” Wasden said. “Based on that misrepresentation, many borrowed thousands of dollars in federal aid to cover the costs of their education. However, when all was said and done, most students didn’t receive the education they were promised yet still had all the related debt. Forgiving these students’ loans helps rectify the situation.”
Based on a 2012 congressional report, ITT Tech enrolled roughly 282,000 students across the country between 2007 and 2010. During this period, ITT Tech showed a document titled “Value Proposition for Employed Graduates” to prospective students to convince them to enroll and, in most cases, borrow thousands of dollars in federal student aid to pay for the associated costs. Independent analysis of the document, however, revealed that ITT Tech massively misrepresented the value of its education while assuring graduates they would get high-paying jobs with a constant rate of earning growth.