After more than 1,600 students borrowed money to attend a college that failed to achieve accreditation status, Attorney General Jason Miyares is urging the federal government to forgive those loans.
Schools operated by the for-profit Education Corporation of America were discredited in 2016 and failed to obtain a new creditor. While the schools continued operating through 2018, the attorney general’s office claims that ECA misled students about its accreditation status and its efforts to obtain new accreditation. The office also alleges that the corporation broke a promise to provide lifetime career counseling.
About 1,650 students who received student loans attended their “Virginia College” in Richmond from June 2016 through December 2018. In total, students borrowed about $18 million in federal loans during that time. The U.S. Department of Education has the authority to forgive loans if students obtained them under deception.
“The fraudulent Education Corporation of America intentionally deceived 1,650 Virginia students, requiring them to pay large sums of money for an unaccredited education and lifetime counseling services that the school failed to provide,” Miyares said in a statement. “Virginia students were taken advantage of, and these bad actors must be held accountable. Though we cannot make up for lost time, we can alleviate the financial burden imposed by the deception.”
The attorney general’s office alleges that ECA downplayed its suspect accreditation status and overestimated the likelihood that they would get new accreditation. During that time, ECA also promised career counseling services, but stopped offering them when the schools eventually closed.
“As a result of its closure, ECA breached its contract with students to provide them with promised educational services, including heavily-promoted continuous career services,” Miyares said in a letter to the Department of Education.
The attorney general is requesting full relief, which would include the Department of Education paying back students for money they already paid for their student loans.
Miyares is joined by the attorneys general in Pennsylvania, Maryland, California, Colorado and Alabama, where the ECA also ran schools.
This article was originally posted on AG Miyares seeks student loan forgiveness for unaccredited Virginia college