Former students who attended ITT Technical Institute — or ITT Tech — might be able to get some or all of their student loans erased, thanks to a new settlement against the now-defunct for-profit school.
ITT Educational Services — the parent company to ITT Tech — filed for bankruptcy in 2016. But many students were left with millions of dollars in student loans for a school they no longer attend. Last year, ITT Tech settled a lawsuit with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), ensuring that 35,000 former students will have their student loans erased.
Here’s what the lawsuit says and which students can take advantage of the settlement.
ITT Tech lawsuit overview
Though ITT Tech filed for bankruptcy in 2016, hundreds of thousands of students were still on the hook to pay for their outstanding student loans. However, 2018 lawsuit settlement allowed 750,000 students to get their debt erased.
That lawsuit helped students who attended ITT Tech from 2006 to 2016, as well as other students who made payments after the company declared bankruptcy. Under the settlement, federal student loans were discharged, thanks to the “borrower defense” rule, which protects borrowers whose schools misled them or engaged in misconduct.
With that said, private student loans don’t offer this protection, leaving thousands of students still responsible for paying their loans. For instance, Navient still required payments even after the government discharged federal student loans and found ITT Tech guilty of fraud.
In June 2019, CFPB reached a settlement with ITT Tech that discharged about $168 million in private student loans. In August 2019, CFPB reached an additional settlement, including a judgment against ITT for $60 million and an injunction that prohibited ITT from offering student loans ever again.
In September 2020, CFPB reached another settlement, requiring ITT to forgive $330 million in outstanding student loan balances. In total, ITT Tech has erased more than $500 million in private student loan debt.
Who will get an ITT Tech refund?
To see if you’re eligible to get your loans discharged or get a refund, you need to see if you meet some qualifications first.
For federal student loans, you’re eligible to receive a closed loan discharge if:
- You attended an ITT Tech school that closed (or it closed soon after you withdrew).
- You did not complete your program of study.
This lets you discharge up to 100 percent of your federal student loans.
If you withdrew from ITT before May 6, 2016, you’re completing a program at another institution or you completed all the coursework for your program (even though you haven’t received a diploma), you’re not eligible to get your loans discharged.
If you received your diploma but believe you were defrauded by ITT Tech, you might be eligible for borrower defense. The program has been plagued with delays and outright denials of relief in recent years, but the Biden administration recently announced that it would be making forgiveness easier for qualifying borrowers. The move is expected to affect 72,000 student loan borrowers whose borrower defense claims have been approved but not fulfilled.
Private student loan borrowers have similar requirements for loan forgiveness, but there’s a high likelihood that a lender will reach out to you about your eligibility and you won’t have to do anything on your own. However, if you haven’t heard from anyone, you may need to contact your loan servicer to review your options. You can also contact the CFPB to see how to get relief.
If you attended ITT Tech and have outstanding student loans, you may qualify for cancellation, discharge or a refund, depending on your loans and program status. For most borrowers, you’ll be notified by PEAKS — a private student loan program that runs ITT Tech — or your loan servicer if you are eligible for student loan forgiveness. In the majority of cases, you won’t need to do anything.
If you haven’t heard from anyone, you should contact your loan servicer. Your servicer should be able to walk you through the process and find out when you attended, if your loans are eligible for any relief and how much relief you’re entitled to.
If you’re not getting any help from your loan servicer, you can complete a borrower defense form or a closed loan discharge to get assistance with your federal student loans. You may also be eligible for a state tuition recovery fund, depending on your school and status.
Private student loan borrowers who don’t get any help from loan servicers may want to reach out to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or a lawyer.