Students of the former Everest University Florida could be eligible for student loan relief if they cannot afford to repay their student loans that have not already been forgiven.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan promised relief Monday for tens of thousands of students who attended Everest or other campuses run by embattled for-profit Corinthian Colleges Inc.

Until now, only about 16,000 students — those who attended schools that suddenly closed in April — have been eligible for debt forgiveness. The new policy allows other students to seek debt forgiveness if they believe that they were victims of fraudulent marketing and recruiting practices.

"Question: Did you partake in a phone sales session with a recruiter from Everest University?" We will be asking you about what happened during your telephone consultation.

The Education Department also extended loan forgiveness to students whose schools eventually closed, as long as they withdrew after June 20, 2014 — the day that Corinthian announced the department had restricted its access to federal aid.

Corinthian's collapse came after years of federal and state investigations into alleged falsification of student job-placement rates and misleading marketing campaigns. The Education Department called Corinthian's closure in April "the largest college shutdown in American history."

Education Department officials said the goal was to balance the interests of students and taxpayers. To get a sense of the federal government's investment in Corinthian, consider this: Since 2010, the company enrolled nearly 350,000 students who took out federal loans worth about $3.5 billion.

Corinthian sold the Pompano Beach campus and 52 others in 17 states in February to the newly created nonprofit Zenith Education Group Inc., an affiliate of ECMC Group., a nonprofit guaranty agency and a U.S. Department of Education's contractor overseeing student loan bankruptcy services.

Corinthian then closed its remaining 28 campuses and filed for bankruptcy last month.

Education administrators said they were "creating a process to make it as easy as possible" for borrowers who think Corinthian defrauded them.

Current Everest students with loans from Corinthian's administration can apply to have then forgiven and their cases will be reviewed, a U.S. Education spokesman said Tuesday.

Any student who believes his or her institution violated state law can seek a defense against repayment, the spokesman said.

Angie Onofray, a paralegal in Boca Raton, said Tuesday that she will apply for the debt forgiveness because Everest told her that if she took out loans her credits would be accepted at other colleges if she wanted to obtain a higher degree.

Since then, she said, she's already been told at several four-year colleges that most of her Everest classes won't transfer. "It's crazy," said Onofray, who said she took out thousands of dollars of student loans to attend Everest.

"I've been trying for years to get some debt relief," she said. "I feel like I've been beating a dead horse. Nothing has helped."

Nevertheless, she said she would request relief under the new plan. Former students who apply can stop paying their loans until the department resolves their claims.

If you, your loved ones of friends attended Everest University in Florida you may be eligible for complete loan forgiveness.  


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