President Joe Biden on Tuesday said he is forgiving $130 million in student debt for 7,400 borrowers who attended CollegeAmerica in Colorado, a defunct for-profit college that shut down in 2020 after misleading students about their career prospects and loans.
The debt will be forgiven automatically for students who were enrolled in the Colorado-based locations of CollegeAmerica between January 1, 2006 and July 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education said Tuesday in a statement. The college’s Colorado locations stopped enrolling new students in 2019 and closed by September 2020.
CollegeAmerica billed itself as helping working adults earn their degrees, but it drew criticism from education experts and state officials. In 2018, the institution was put on probation by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) because the program was “designed and implemented in a manner that is not designed for student success,” the ACCSC said.
On Tuesday, the Education Department said that CollegeAmerica’s parent company, the Center for Excellence in Higher Education, had misrepresented the salaries and employment rates of its graduates, as well as private loan terms. The agency based its findings on evidence provided by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, who in 2020 alleged the college had lured students into expensive, but inferior, programs by promising unattainable salaries and jobs.
CollegeAmerica borrowers “were lied to, ripped off and saddled with mountains of debt,” President Biden said in a statement on Tuesday.
The debt relief comes weeks after the Supreme Courtfor broad-based student loan forgiveness, which would have assisted 40 million borrowers each erase up to $20,000 in debt. Loan payments are slated to resume in October after a three-year pause.
With Tuesday’s announcement, the White House has approved $14.7 billion in debt relief for 1.1 million student loan borrowers “whose colleges took advantage of them or closed abruptly,” such as those who attended CollegeAmerica, Biden said in the statement.