Durbin Urges Education Department To Provide Debt Relief To Former Westwood College Students In Illinois

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) urged the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to work with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to provide prompt federal student loan debt relief through the Department’s borrower defense to repayment rule for more than three thousand former Westwood College students in Illinois.
Last year, Attorney General Madigan settled a lawsuit with the company for $15 million after finding that Westwood misled students about the accreditation and cost of its criminal justice program. The settlement award provided some private student loan relief to Westwood students but did not cover federal student loans.
“Attorney General Madigan’s suit and underlying evidence make clear that Westwood’s deceptive practices give rise to a cause of action under Illinois law, thereby qualifying approximately 3,600 Westwood criminal justice students in Illinois to federal student loan relief under the Department’s borrower defense to repayment regulation,” wrote Senator Durbin in a letter to Education Secretary John King. “I urge the Department to work with Attorney General Madigan to promptly provide loan discharges and notifications of discharge to those students identified by the Attorney General.”
Last week, Senator Durbin met with Secretary King to discuss how the Obama Administration can continue to protect students and taxpayers from predatory for-profit colleges until January 20th. They also discussed federal student loan relief for defrauded students, including those who attended Westwood, Computer Systems Institute, and Corinthian Colleges.
Full text of the letter is available here.