If you were one of the 40,000 students enrolled at ITT Tech and have now learned that your college is shutting down, you may have a lot of uncertainty about what comes next. Below, we have put together some advice to help you navigate the situation.
The Department of Education recently sent a message to ITT Tech students and created a new to help these students stay updated as the situation develops. Other helpful information, including answers to common questions about student loans, are also available through Ask CFPB, which offers a host of clear and impartial answers to hundreds of financial questions.
If you have federal student loans, you may be eligible for relief if:
Your college closes.
Keep in mind that if you transfer the credits you’ve earned at ITT Tech toward a comparable program at another school and you complete or are in the process of completing that program, you will not be eligible to receive a closed school loan discharge. Also, if you do have your federal loans discharged because your college closed and you end up transferring credits to a similar program at another college, you may have to pay back the loans that were discharged. If you receive an offer from another college to transfer your credits, be sure you understand how it will affect your right to discharge your federal student loans.
Parents may also seek discharge of any Parent PLUS loans used to fund the expenses of dependent students who were unable to complete their degree due to a school closure.
You were defrauded by your college.
If you are a student who attended a college and believe that the college committed fraud, misrepresented its services, or otherwise violated applicable state law, you may be eligible for loan discharge, known as or borrower defense. You may be eligible for this discharge regardless of whether or not your college is closed or whether or not you transferred your credits to complete a program at another college. Students who wish to submit a claim can learn how to do so via the .
Keep in mind that there may be tax consequences of loan discharge. You can find more information about potential tax consequences and what to do if you don’t think you can afford them by contacting the .
Beware of student debt relief companies
Remember, these federal loan discharge options, as well as other programs to assist borrowers struggling to repay their loans, are available free of charge. You don’t have to pay someone to help you manage your student loans. We have warned consumers in the past about debt relief companies that made false promises of thousands of dollars in savings on borrowers’ student debt in exchange for illegal upfront fees. Check out our tips to help make sure you don’t fall victim to a student debt relief scam.
If you have private student loans
In general, if you have private student loans and your school closes, your options are more limited and you are typically still responsible for repaying the loans. However, some states may have programs that assist students with private student loans in the event of a college closure. Additionally, some private student lenders may offer options to assist certain borrowers in this situation.
If you think you won’t be able to afford to repay your private student loan, you should contact your student loan servicer (the company that sends you your monthly student loan bill) immediately to learn more about available repayment options. If you run into trouble with your student loans, you can also submit a complaint to us online or by calling us at (855) 411-2372.
Seth Frotman is the CFPB’s Student Loan Ombudsman. To learn more about our work for students and young consumers, visit consumerfinance.gov/students.