News


DCCA staff continue to telework some days of the week due to the COVID-19 situation.  As a result, HPEAP may be unable to retrieve mail daily, thus mail-in requests may be delayed, and requesting online is highly recommended.  HPEAP will continue processing online requests to the extent possible, although please understand that turnaround times may be longer than normal during this telework period.  Order online at: https://dccabreg.force.com/transcripts/s/.
For DCCA operational updates, please check: https://cca.hawaii.gov/covid19/.
HPEAP-related questions can be emailed to [email protected].

Navient Settlement to Provide Restitution and Private Loan Cancellations
On January 18, 2022, Hawaii Attorney General Holly T. Shikada announced a settlement with Navient that provides relief to resolve allegations of widespread unfair and deceptive student loan servicing practices and abuses in originating predatory student loans. Under the terms of the settlement, which requires court approval, Navient will cancel the remaining balance on $1.7 billion in subprime private student loan balances owed by more than 66,000 borrowers nationwide. In addition, Navient will pay $142.5 million to the attorneys general. A total of $95 million in restitution payments of about $260 each will be distributed to approximately 350,000 federal loan borrowers who were placed in certain types of long-term forbearances. Hawaii will receive a total of $367,867 in restitution payments for 1,380 federal loan borrowers and 196 Hawaii borrowers will receive a total of more than $4.3 million in private loan debt cancellation. Borrowers receiving private loan debt cancellation will receive a notice from Navient by July 2022, along with refunds of any payments made on the cancelled private loans after June 30, 2021. Federal loan borrowers who are eligible for a restitution payment of approximately $260 will receive a postcard in the mail from the settlement administrator later this spring. Federal loan borrowers who qualify for relief under this settlement do not need to take any action except update or create their studentaid.gov account to ensure that the U.S. Department of Education has their current address. For more information, visit www.NavientAGSettlement.com.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Overhaul
On October 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) announced changes to restore the promise of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). The government says it will offer a time-limited waiver so that student borrowers can count payments from all federal loan programs or repayment plans toward forgiveness. This includes loan types and payment plans that were not previously eligible. USDE also seeks to give borrowers a way to get errors corrected and make it easier for members of the military to get credit toward forgiveness while they serve.

You can read more details about the commitment to improve PSLF at:
https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/fact-sheet-public-service-loan-forgiveness-pslf-program-overhaul

ITT Technical Institute Extended Closed School Discharge Amounts to $1.1 Bil. in Loan Forgiveness
On August 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) announced it extend the closed school discharge window for former ITT students to March 31, 2008, resulting in more than $1.1 billion in loan forgiveness available to an additional 115,000 borrowers. The Department estimates that 43 percent of these borrowers are currently in default. The amount of loan discharges approved by the Department since January 2021 totals $9.5 billion and across 563,000 borrowers.

Under USDE regulations, borrowers eligible for a closed school discharge and attended an institution that shut down between November 1, 2013, and July 1, 2020, will receive an automatic discharge as long as they did not enroll in another institution within three years of their school’s closure. Eligible borrowers who attended ITT within 120 days of its closure in 2016 received automatic discharges in 2019. The majority of the ITT borrowers covered by the latest action did not enroll elsewhere during the three years after ITT’s closure and will not need to take any further action to receive a discharge.

Borrowers who enrolled elsewhere but did not complete their program of study may still be eligible for a discharge, but will need to submit an application. Borrowers can access the closed school discharge application by contacting their servicer or visiting StudentAid.gov/closedschoolform and returning a completed application to their servicer. The Department will begin processing discharges in September 2021 and borrowers will start receiving automatic discharges in the following weeks.

More information from USDE:
https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/extended-closed-school-discharge-will-provide-115k-borrowers-itt-technical-institute-more-11b-loan-forgiveness

Automatic Total and Permanent Disability Discharges
On August 19, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) announced that more than 323,000 borrowers who have a total and permanent disability (TPD) will receive $5.8 billion in automatic student loan discharges due to a new regulation. The change applies to borrowers who are identified through an existing data match with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The USDE also said that it indefinitely extended the policy announced in March to stop asking these borrowers to provide information on their earnings and will pursue the elimination of the three-year monitoring period required under current regulations during the negotiated rulemaking that will begin in October.

More information from USDE:
https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/over-323000-federal-student-loan-borrowers-receive-58-billion-automatic-total-and-permanent-disability-discharges

University of Phoenix – Hawaii Campus Closure and Teach-out
On June 17, 2021, the University of Phoenix notified HPEAP that it will be phasing out its Hawaii campus, along with all remaining out-of-state campuses in California, Nevada, and Texas. On June 28, 2021, Hawaii students should have been informed that the University will enter a teach-out period and will no longer be accepting new campus-based enrollments. The student communication outlined options for completing programs. All students should be able to complete their programs by 2025. Information on closed school federal loan discharge if a student is unable to finish a program should have also been provided. A teach-out plan has been submitted to the University’s accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, for approval. If there are questions, students should call the student hotline at 800-546-8071 or email the University.

FTC Issues $50M Settlement to Eligible University of Phoenix Students
In March 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced it was sending payments totaling nearly $50 million to more than 147,000 University of Phoenix students who may have been lured by allegedly deceptive advertisements. Check recipients were given 90 days to cash the payment. More information from the FTC:
https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/cases-proceedings/refunds/university-phoenix-settlement-payments

Heald College Class Action Lawsuit
The Project on Predatory Student Lending and the Housing and Economic Rights activists (HERA) represent a class of tens of thousands of former students of Corinthian College, a predatory for-profit college chain, against the Department of Education. For more information and to see if you are a class member in this case visit
https://predatorystudentlending.org/cases/calvillo-manriquez-v-devos/

Students Take Fight for Loan Forgiveness to Court
Link to a news article discussing legal battles some students have faced due to delays in the administrative process of loan forgiveness case reviews.
https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/05/28/some-defrauded-borrowers-win-court-debt-relief-claims-pile

Hawaii Among 47 States Seeking Loan Forgiveness for Disabled Veterans
Hawaii is one of 51 state and territory attorneys general signed on a National Association of Attorneys General letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos requesting that the Department of Education discharge student loans for eligible disabled veterans. You can read a copy of the letter here:
https://1li23g1as25g1r8so11ozniw-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/NAAG-Letter-to-Sec.-DeVos-Updated.pdf

Argosy University Closed
Please see our dedicated page to the closure: http://cca.hawaii.gov/hpeap/main/argosy-university-status-information/

Argosy University Enters Receivership, Ordered to Show Cause
For the latest on Argosy University, please visit the page dedicated to this topic at:

ARGOSY UNIVERSITY STATUS INFORMATION

FTC Continues Crack Down on Student Loan Debt Relief Scams
The Federal Trade Commission in February 2018 charged a student loan debt relief operation with bilking more than $28 million from consumers by falsely promising that their monthly payments would go towards paying off student loans. It is the latest action in the FTC’s Operation Game of Loans, which targets deceptive student loan debt relief scams.
In this case, the defendants named are American Financial Benefits Center (also doing business as AFB and AF Student Services), AmeriTech Financial, Financial Education Benefits Center, and Brandon Demond Frere.
For more information about this latest case you can read the complaint at: https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/cases/amer_fin_benef_cntr_complaint.pdf
For more information on these types of debt relief scams and Operation Game of Loans, please visit the FTC: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2017/10/ftc-state-law-enforcement-partners-announce-nationwide-crackdown?utm_source=govdelivery

Hawaii Joins State Coalition Demanding U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Stop Attacking Student Borrowers
Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin and Office of Consumer Protection Executive Director Steve Levins joined a coalition of states demanding a rollback of critical protections for student loan borrowers. An August 31st letter from the U.S. Department of Education to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau terminated two memoranda of understanding that essentially ended critical protections designed to streamline the supervision of student loan servicers. The letter from Hawaii and other states to Ms. DeVos makes it clear that the termination harms student borrowers.
To read the press release and a copy of the letter go to:
https://cca.hawaii.gov/hpeap/files/2017/09/Attorney-General-News-Release-2017-126-re-DeVos-letter-AND-Multistate-Letter-to-DeVos-re-federal-loan-servicers.pdf

Gainful Employment Disclosure Deadline Pushed Back to July 1, 2018
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced a deadline extension for required program disclosures of information that would have included graduate employment rates or debt levels to prospective students. The disclosures were originally due July 1, 2017, under the gainful-employment rule, but this announcement pushes it back a year to July 1, 2018. In addition, the department extended a deadline to file alternate earnings appeals.
More information is available through the official press release and Federal Register notice:
https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USED/bulletins/1a6a438
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/07/05/2017-14186/program-integrity-gainful-employment

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Report
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a report highlighting student loan servicers mishandling Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Some complaints include delayed or denied access to loan forgiveness through misinformation and flawed payment processing. CFPB also launched a “Certify Your Service” campaign to help public servants stay on track to loan forgiveness.
For more information about action by CFPB and to read a copy of the report please visit:
https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/cfpb-spotlights-borrower-complaints-about-student-loan-servicers-mishandling-public-service-loan-forgiveness-program/

Hawaii Joins Other States Demanding Prompt Loan Discharges
Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin and Office of Consumer Protection Executive Director Steve Levins joined 18 other state attorneys general in demanding that the U.S. Department of Education end long delays in its program to cancel federal student loans for thousands of students in Hawaii victimized by predatory for-profit colleges.
In a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on June 5, 2017, the states urged the U.S. Department of Education to timely finalize the discharge of loans where forgiveness has already been approved.
To read the press release and a copy of the letter go to:
https://cca.hawaii.gov/hpeap/files/2017/06/Attorney-General-News-Release-2017-59-AND-letter-to-USDOE-re-Corinthian.pdf

DeVry Refund Update
The FTC plans to mail checks before the end of the summer to people who:
•enrolled for the first time in a bachelor’s or associate’s degree program at DeVry University between January 1, 2008 and October 1, 2015;
•paid at least $5,000 with cash, loans or military benefits;
•did not get debt or loan forgiveness as part of this settlement; and
•completed at least one class credit.

If a student moved since attending DeVry, the student should update their address with the FTC refund administrator at 844-578-2645.
For more information read the full update at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/devry-refund-update

U.S. Promises to Make Good on Loan Forgiveness
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos finally responded, without detail, to Democratic lawmakers who sought answers on status of promised student loan discharge claims for defrauded borrowers. Ms. DeVos told lawmakers on May 24, 2017, that her department will follow through on promises to provide loan forgiveness to borrowers who attended for-profit colleges found to have defrauded students.
Read more in an article posted here:
https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/05/25/devos-says-education-dept-will-provide-relief-students-promised-loan-discharge#

CFPB Suing Student Loan Servicer Navient
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is suing Navient, the nation’s biggest servicer of federal and private student loans, alleging that “Too many borrowers paid more for their loans because Navient illegally cheated them…”
Below are a couple of links for more information on the lawsuit and what actions students may take.
http://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/cfpb-sues-nations-largest-student-loan-company-navient-failing-borrowers-every-stage-repayment/
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2017/01/19/feds-sue-student-loan-giant-navient-what-borrowers-need-know/96767140/

DeVry University Agrees to $100 mil. Settlement that Includes Refunds and Debt Forgiveness
Under the settlement of a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lawsuit alleging misleading ads touting high employment success rates and income for graduates, DeVry University will pay $49.4 million to qualifying students and $50.6 million in debt relief.
For more information please visit https://www.ftc.gov/devry
and
https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2016/12/devry-university-agrees-100-million-settlement-ftc
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/devry-settles-claims-deceptive-advertising-100-million