Finkenauer urges that student debts be waived for victims of profit-oriented “bad actors”

0


CEDAR RAPIDS – Jeff O’Brien hoped the ITT Technical Institute would help him achieve his desired bachelor’s degree in project and construction management. Instead, the school manipulated him to take out high-interest loans and unnecessary courses that cost him tens of thousands – and then left him with nothing, he said on Monday.

Today, O’Brien is a 30 year veteran of the US Army Reserve working as a virtual design and construction manager at Cedar Rapids she wants to introduce this week

The “Cheated Student Law of 2019” aims to cancel the debts of cheated students and return the victims of fraudulent practices the money they paid for the predatory loans.

The ITT Technical Institute, which shut down abruptly in 2016 and filed for bankruptcy protection, is an example of a for-profit college with “bad actors” that said it admitted students by “failing to pinpoint their costs and promising professional skills without actually teaching ”. they hide high loan default rates and lie to students about whether their loans are recognized, ”the congresswoman said.

She noted that there is already a rule in place that requires the US Department of Education to exonerate students who prove they were scammed by the colleges. “But unfortunately this rule is not enforced at the moment,” she said.

There were more than 158,000 applications for discharge, “but none were processed,” said Finkenauer. “This law will change that and give federal loan students the relief they need to get but just don’t get.”

O’Brien, flanked by Finkenauer and Kirkwood’s President Lori Sundberg, is among those who have made claims.

After high school in Williamsburg, he began his higher education in 2007 at Kirkwood Community College, where he earned an associate degree in architectural technology. He moved to the University of Northern Iowa but said he didn’t like it and went to take some time off and work.

In 2012, in hopes of resuming his bachelor’s degree in project and construction management, O’Brien reached out to ITT Tech after seeing his ads and presence at Cedar Rapids.

During registration, O’Brien said, the consultants told him that his Kirkwood degree would not be enough and that he would need an ITT associate degree before he could begin his undergraduate program.

“I only agreed because I had the opportunity to test most of the courses,” he said.

He completed the associate requirement in six months. But four months into the ITT bachelor’s program, O’Brien learned that the degree he wanted would no longer be offered at Cedar Rapids. He would have to commute to Clive two hours to continue.

“I was pretty angry,” he recalled.

Instead of staying with ITT, O’Brien joined the army a short time later. After basic training, he returned for an ITT bachelor’s degree – after the school created an online path for it.

But two years later – in the last week of his senior year – he learned that he had missed a course necessary for graduation.

O’Brien was offered the option to try this course or take it and postpone graduation. But since he already had a job in project management, he decided to take the course.

“I wanted to learn something new so that I could deepen my knowledge,” he said. “But three days later the school closed.”

O’Brien never earned an ITT bachelor’s degree, even after taking out a personal loan at 9.8 percent and a student loan at 6.8 percent.

And with the school’s closure and bankruptcy filing – along with a class action lawsuit that brought in more than $ 168 million in debt relief for 18,664 former ITT students nationwide – the associate degree he earned there means little, O said ‘Brien across from The Gazette.

“The ITT Technical Institute didn’t do anything for me but take the time and money,” said O’Brien.

O’Brien paid ITT Tech about $ 25,000, including about $ 15,000 in outstanding loans. He is currently working with his lender to get some of the relief provided by a recent settlement with a credit union services organization that made loans to ITT students.

Iowa attorney general Tom Miller last month announced $ 1.4 million debt relief for 143 former ITT tech students as part of the settlement with 44 states.

Finkenauer’s proposal goes even further and aims to cancel the debt for each defrauded borrower and return all payments for the robbery loan to the borrower. Her staff said the Ministry of Education will continue to try to make up for losses from “bad actors”.

Kirkwood President Sundberg said she supported the law, as did Iowa attorney Miller, who said in a statement hundreds of Iowers had waited months and years for the referral. While he said his office had secured more than $ 11 million in debt relief or other aid for Iower who took out loans to attend ITT, Corinthian College, or other for-profit schools, Miller said many are still on the Waiting for credit to be issued.

l Comments: (319) 339-3158; [email protected]

Rep. Abby Finkenauer listens as Jeff O’Brien shares his experience during a press conference announcing the 2019 Debt Exemption Act at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids on Monday, July 8, 2019. O’Brien is a resident of Cedar Rapids. Student and veteran who borrowed to attend ITT Tech. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

Rep. Abby Finkenauer speaks during a press conference announcing the 2019 Exemption of Cheated Students Act at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids on Monday, July 8, 2019. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

Rep. Abby Finkenauer speaks during a press conference announcing the 2019 Exemption of Cheated Students Act at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids on Monday, July 8, 2019. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

Rep. Abby Finkenauer shakes hands with Jeff O’Brien during a press conference announcing the 2019 Debt Exemption Act at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids on Monday, July 8, 2019. O’Brien is a resident, student, and veteran who borrowed to attend ITT Tech. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

Rep. Abby Finkenauer listens to Dr. Lori Sundberg, President of Kirkwood Community College, during a press conference at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids on Monday, July 8, 2019, a Cedar Rapids resident listens to a press conference announcing the 2019 Debt Exemption Act, Student and veteran who borrowed to attend ITT Tech. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.