Education

Student debt relief options expanded to more Corinthian-affiliated schools

FILE: Officials at WyoTech, a Corinthian Colleges campus, talk to students on the day their campus shut down in spring.
FILE: Officials at WyoTech, a Corinthian Colleges campus, talk to students on the day their campus shut down in spring.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

The California attorney general and federal education officials announced Tuesday an expansion of debt relief programs for Corinthian Colleges-affiliated campuses caught up in the closure of the for-profit network of schools.

The Santa-Ana based Corinthian Colleges closed its schools in April and filed for bankruptcy after the U.S. Department of Education announced it was fining the institution $30 million for misrepresentation.

The latest announcement would allow students who were enrolled in programs found to be fraudulent at Corinthian-affiliated WyoTech and Everest colleges to apply for expedited consideration of their applications for federal student loan forgiveness. Students of online programs could also be eligible.

Officials said the expansion could impact tens of thousands of students, but they did not immediately provide a more accurate number.

Students can go to the attorney general's website at oag.ca.gov/corinthiantool to help them determine what debt relief options they may have. The U.S. Department of Education also plans to update its website at studentaid.ed.gov to reflect the latest announcement.

“The Department of Education analyzed job placement rates at Everest and WyoTech Colleges, as well as additional evidence provided by Attorney General Harris, and concluded that [job] placement rates were widely misrepresented to both enrolled and prospective students,” the attorney general's office said in a statement.

Attorney General Kamala Harris, a U.S. Senate candidate, speaking on a press call Tuesday, declined to say whether any criminal investigations into individuals connected to Corinthian Colleges and its affiliates are ongoing.

In June, the Department of Education announced plans to streamline debt relief for Corinthian students and those who attended Heald Colleges, another company-run affiliate. At the time, student advocates criticized the department for not going far enough to help debt-burdened students.