Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that they had reached a $100 million settlement agreement with DeVry University over charges that DeVry promoted misleading employment success rates and income levels for their graduates. That misinformation was likely a deciding factor for potential students who were considering enrollment. Recently, there have been a number of similar high profile news stories about legal settlements in cases related to private colleges. Many of these settlements have resulted in monetary compensation for student borrowers who have attended those schools. With tens of millions of Americans struggling to repay their student loans, the news of a settlement payout is worth the attention it receives.
In the DeVry case, the university has agreed to pay $49.4 million to qualifying students who were hurt by the misleading promotions, along with $50.6 million in debt relief. The debt being forgiven includes the full balance owed—$30.35 million—on all private unpaid student loans that DeVry issued to undergraduates between September 2008 and September 2015, and $20.25 million in student debts for items such as tuition, books and lab fees.
So the first question students may ask is how to determine if they qualify. The FTC has established a hotline to offer information about the refund and debt forgiveness program. People can visit www.ftc.gov/devry or call 844-578-2645. This is typically the case with other similar actions, and may also be accompanied by direct communication alerting borrowers about where to turn for information and guidance. This is where it pays to read all correspondence related to the loans you are repaying. One missed email or letter could be the difference between benefiting from a settlement payout and missing out entirely.
Not everyone will benefit from settlements like this, yet there are millions who are buckling under the weight of what they borrowed in pursuit of higher education. Those borrowers can consider options including income based repayment (IBR). For others who understand the benefit of professional guidance to help with their decision, including a more in-depth review of their entire financial situation, they can turn to nonprofit resources like studentloanhelp.org.
Finding the best solution for student loan repayment issues means making informed choices. Taking the time to research options and ask questions will greatly improve your chances of finding the right solution for your situation.