Atlanta’s Everest College students can seek debt relief

Atlanta’s Everest College students will be able to seek help with their student loan debt if they think they’ve been defrauded by the for-profit school, according to an announcement Friday by the federal education department.

The debt relief applies to student who were enrolled at 91 former institutions operated by the national for-profit education provider Corinthian Colleges, under the Everest and WyoTech brands.

Corinthian had enrolled more than 72,000 students in more than 100 U.S. campuses under those brands and as Heald Colleges before shutting down in 2014. Corinthian faced a number of investigations from state and federal agencies into whether the company lied about its educational programs, job-placement rates and financing that left many students with mounds of debt and poor job prospects.

The 91 campuses in 20 states — including Georgia — represent the largest group of borrowers eligible for loan relief so far from the ongoing investigation into Corinthian. In total, the federal Department of Education has made findings of fraud against more than 100 of Corinthian’s former campuses.

Corinthian sold many of its WyoTech and Everest institutions, including the four locations Georgia, to the EDMC education group. Georgia’s four campuses in Greenbriar, Jonesboro, Marietta and Norcross have remained open under the new management. About 1,200 students attended the local schools when operated by Corinthian.

The federal Department of Education will contact eligible students about applying for debt relief soon. Students who believe they were victims of fraud or another violation of state law at Corinthian, whether the school is open or closed, may be eligible for debt relief based on borrower defense to repayment.

Last summer, the department created a similar form for students at 12 Heald College campuses after fining the institution $30 million for misrepresenting job placement rates to current and prospective students. In November 2015, the department, in conjunction with the California Attorney General, published additional findings of misrepresentation at 20 Everest and WyoTech campuses in California and Florida.

More information about the new debt relief application, and eligibility information is available can be found through the U.S. Department of Education.

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