Durbin Meets with Department of Education Special Master to Encourage Fair Debt Relief Process for Former For-profit Students

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin convened a meeting today with the recently-named Department of Education Special Master for debt relief, Joseph Smith. In June, the Department of Education announced relief for students who attended Corinthian’s Heald campuses and Corinthian campuses that closed. But federal student debt relief for most former-Corinthian students has yet to come from the Department. 


“The steps the Department has taken to provide relief to some former-Corinthian students are a promising sign,” Durbin said. “But too many other former-Corinthian students, including those who attended Everest campuses in my home state of Illinois, still have not been provided any relief. As Department of Education Special Master Joseph Smith works to establish a process for those students and others, I urged him to work closely with State Attorneys General and other state and federal agencies that have already discovered vast evidence of Corinthian’s misconduct. It is also critical that the Department not pursue an overly individualized adjudication process that could hamper the ability of many students to receive the relief they deserve. I look forward to continuing to work on our shared goal of fair debt relief for students victimized by Corinthian.”


Following the collapse of Corinthian Colleges, Inc., which operated under the name “Everest College” at campuses in Illinois located in Burr Ridge, Bedford Park, Melrose Park, Merrionette Park, and Skokie, Durbin has repeatedly called on the Department of Education to do more to protect students and taxpayers from other for-profit colleges like ITT Tech.


On June 26, 2014, Durbin led eleven U.S. Senators in calling on the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to protect students while continuing to hold Corinthian Colleges, Inc. accountable, including immediately prohibiting them from enrolling any new students.  In addition, the Senators asked the Department of Education to answer a series of questions related to the protection of students and taxpayer funding. 


In response to a December 16, 2013 investigation in the Huffington Post, Durbin sent a letter to the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, asking him to investigate Corinthian Colleges, Inc. and their manipulative marketing practices which included a subsidy program for employers to hire graduates temporarily and outright lying by the company through their advertisement of numbers substantially higher than actual job placement rates.


After that letter, the Department requested information from Corinthian related to their job placement rates, denied the company’s new program applications, and eventually placed the company on Heightened Cash Management.  At that time, Durbin also called on the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges and the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools – Corinthian Colleges, Inc.’s accreditors – to take action.