Monday, August 23, 2010

Who's gonna help students who have been defrauded?

There's all this chatter and activity swirling around students who have been defrauded by higher education institutions. I think that's just swell, and I especially applaud Luke Swarthout in Sen. Harkin's office for his work on the for-profit scandals. But it seems to me that no one is doing anything to help students who have been defrauded (it doesn't matter if they went to a for-profit or non-profit). Why not? In my view, this means the Department of Education is left off the hook. This institution has done nothing to help current debtors, and I think that's a disgusting shame.

Debra Wiley is a prime example. She responded to my pleas for help several months ago, and claimed that she'd opened a file for my concerns and claims. (She's at the Dept. of Education). However, I haven't heard a thing out of her since that first email. Well, that doesn't work for me. Nope. It don't suffice. That's why I want all of you to email her and ask her why the Department of Education has failed to respond to the needs of student debtors. Why are they taking our concerns for granted? Why is the Administration helping out homeowners and ignoring us?  

PLEASE EMAIL DEBRA WILEY AND CC ME. HER EMAIL IS: Ask her why the Department of Education is failing to help current debtors. Why have they forgotten us?!?

Fated to be forgotten and forsaken?


Dan said...

My super overgeneralized response to this question

Why is the Administration helping out homeowners and ignoring us?

The housing market needs to be propped up in the government's eyes because otherwise the banks have to eat the principal of all those bad loans and prices really start to drop and deflation takes hold. Of course, this would result in massive job losses in the money and housing markets which control our economy.

Student loans and education, on the other hand, are funded primarily by taxpayers and dont creat immediate wealth. Since we don't create the jobs (in the government/banking views), we are of secondary concern.

In the world of higher education, we are basically paying institutions to take our money. It is that simple and insane in my eyes.

At least people are finally waking up to this reality.

Money talks sadly

Anonymous said...

Sadly, most homeowners haven't been helped out, but that is a topic for another blog.

The likely reason why the Dep. of Ed. doesn't help the indebted is politics. After years of promoting education as the solution to society's problems, they can hardly admit that pursuing an education doesn't always work out. There's also that pesky problem of the regulatory agency getting too cozy with the regulated industry (e.g., SEC with Bernie Madoff, FAA with Southwest Airlines, some agency with BP, etc.)

Congress has passed some legislation that is an improvement (i.e., Income Based Repayment options, and cutting out the freeloading middlemen like Sallie Mae from loan originations). Hopefully, the investigation of for-profit schools is just an early step into a larger investigation of the entire industry.

What about the often forgotten third branch (you know, the one that gave us Brown v. Board)? Where is the wave of lawsuits against the shyster schools? Does anyone out there want to sue their school? I'm considering starting a law practice in this area, but I'm concerned that no one wants to sue.

Unknown said...

I'm an attorney and I'm very interested in talking to people who think they have been defrauded by their schools.

More information is here:

David Abrams

Anonymous said...
"We acknowledge that denying relief to Armstrong may seem unfair.   Lenders that permitted schools to abuse the Guaranteed Student Loan Program and that profited enormously prior to the 1992 changes are protected by federal preemption.   Owners of schools that profited from student loans while failing to provide promised training and resources are protected by bankruptcy laws.   Only the students, the very people the Guaranteed Student Loan Program was intended to benefit, are left holding the bag."

"The 1992 changes in the federal student loan program went a long way toward eliminating this unfairness for students who borrowed after 1992.   The Secretary has even established loan discharge procedures for two categories of pre-1992 borrowers: those whose for-profit schools closed while they were in attendance, and those whose own GSLP eligibility (not the school's eligibility) was falsely certified.   See 34 C.F.R. § 682.402(d), (e)."

"These procedures provide no relief for students like Armstrong, whose schools falsely represented their accreditation or engaged in other misconduct.   We have no authority to protect such students, BUT we think the Secretary does."   See 20 U.S.C. §§ 1082(a), 1087-0. 1999.

Anonymous said...

The for-profit schools merely took the strategies of non-profit schools in making money...
No difference between the two;
In both cases, administrators come to work to make money by extending debt;

Cryn Johannsen said...

David - thanks so much for posting. I'm glad that you are interested in speaking to people who believe they've been defrauded by their schools. I think I could be of assistance to you, and collect information (at least names) of people who believe this happened to them. I encourage you to contact me directly at my email (

Cryn Johannsen said...

Congress has passed some legislation, you're right, but it's not enough. I'm quite familiar with IBR, because I'm touch with the creators of that program ( It's a great start, but far more must be done, and the Dept. of Education ought to take an interest in debtors. Having spoken to someone inside the Dept., they agree with me and think it's a crying shame that nothing is being done to help current debtors. They sure as hell haven't done enough to open investigations into wrongdoing. That goes for for-profits and non-profits. I don't give a damned how a university or college defines itself, there's a systemic failing here, and we need some people in government to step up and do something about it. It's wrong. It's unjust. It's shameful, and I blame the Dept. of Education for their unresponsiveness. Duncan has the power NOW to help, and he isn't doing a thing. That makes me more than just a little bit angry!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a very large class action civil rights lawsuit would break their strangle hold on their "EMPLOYERS".
Lest we forget they WORK for us! When our employees hold our RIGHTS hostage to their rules and dictate how/when we can exercise those "RIGHTS given by them", we have a far greater problem IMO, than just whether to pay a defaulted student loan or not...
Our RIGHTS are not given/taken away, they are eroded away by gov. agency such as this.. When we allow it, we only allow more of it!