New York Attorney General today announced that as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s group discharge for borrowers who attended for-profit colleges run by ITT Educational Services, Inc. (ITT) between 2005 and September 2016, over 4,400 New Yorkers will have their federal loans cleared. ITT had college campuses in Albany, Buffalo, and Syracuse, and thousands of New York students who attended these programs will have over $78 million of federal student loan debt discharged. These borrowers will have the federal student loans they received to attend ITT discharged without any additional action on their part. Attorney General James joined with other states to file a group discharge application in 2021, which led the U.S. Department of Education to act and achieve funds for these former students.
“Students pursuing an advanced degree to open up new possibilities shouldn’t be seen as cash-cows by disreputable, for-profit colleges,” said Attorney General James. “ITT Educational Services, Inc. fleeced hundreds of thousands of students, including over 4,400 New Yorkers at their Albany, Buffalo, and Syracuse campuses. I applaud the U.S. Department of Education for helping to secure these funds to help make New York students whole. I will continue to work with my partners in local, statewide, and national government to hold bad actors accountable and to stand up for the rights of New Yorkers.”
The Department of Education credited the coalition of attorneys general that New York Attorney General James was a part of with conducting significant and extensive work to help uncover evidence that ITT engaged in widespread and pervasive misrepresentations related to the ability of students to get a job or transfer credits and lied about the programmatic accreditation of ITT’s associate degree in nursing. The Department of Education noted that its findings are based on extensive evidence, including internal ITT policies and records; recruitment materials and brochures; recordings of interactions between ITT’s representatives and prospective students; testimony from former students, employees, and administrators; investigative files and submissions from congressional investigators and state attorneys general; and the tens of thousands of individual borrower defense applications submitted by former ITT students.
This announcement is part of Attorney General James’ ongoing effort to protect New Yorkers from predatory, for-profit colleges and disreputable student loan servicers. In May 2022, Attorney General James urged former DeVry students who were deceived by the university to apply for federal loan discharge. This past January, Attorney General James helped secure more than $110 million in debt cancellation for New York students deceived by Navient. Additionally, Attorney General James suspended collection of some student debt owed to the state amidst the pandemic to provide relief to students.
Attorney General James has also been outspoken in calling for nationwide reforms to help protect student borrowers. In May 2021, Attorney General James sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education calling for significant reforms to help student borrowers and shield them from predatory for-profit colleges. In March 2021, Attorney General James sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education calling for reforms to help student borrowers. In July 2020, Attorney General James and a multistate coalition sued the Trump Administration’s Department of Education and former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to block their efforts to repeal critical protections for student-borrowers who have been misled or defrauded by predatory for-profit schools. In June 2020, Attorney General James filed a multistate lawsuit to stop the Department of Education and Secretary DeVos from repealing the “Gainful Employment” rule which helps ensure for-profit colleges and vocational schools “prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation” following graduation.