Some students would call this their worst academic nightmare. Imagine hauling your books in a heavy book bag, thinking only about how you really should have paid the extra cost to have a bit more padding in the shoulder straps. You arrive to class to find the door locked with a fastened note, alerting all students that the college has closed. Not just closed for the afternoon, or the evening. Closed, like, never to be reopened again, closed. This unfortunate turn of events would no doubt create confusion and questions regarding the fairness of having to pay back a student loan without the opportunity to complete your education. How do you begin to sort this out and understand what your rights are in this situation?
The student loan process can be difficult to understand even without the added surprise that your chosen institution has unexpectedly, permanently closed its doors. Sometimes the best way to help yourself is to find someone who can help you. An Ohio debt lawyer will be able to help you navigate the complex world of student loans and determine the best way to discharge your student debt.
School Closures and Student Debt
Columbus, Ohio has said goodbye to some of its largest for-profit colleges in the last two months. ITT Technical Institute closed its doors in September of 2016 following the findings of a federal investigation that the school was unable to meet basic standards. As a result, federal funding for grants and student loans was no longer an option for potential students of the college. The recent closing of Heritage College and Heritage Institute, in a statement released by the school, attributes their closure to a lack of operating funds.
Prior students of the college are left with unanswered questions regarding their current debt and how to get their money back. According to the United States Department of Education, students may be eligible for a full discharge of their loan depending on whether or not they fit the criteria.
Can I Transfer to Another School?
Those students who may be considering the possibility of transferring credits to another institution in the hopes of salvaging their academic efforts should proceed with caution. Transfer students and students who have entered into a teach-out agreement with another school may find themselves ineligible to receive a loan discharge. Additionally, those students who have completed all of their program coursework but have not received a diploma or a certificate could find themselves disqualified. It is important to note here that a transfer in itself does not immediately exclude someone from receiving a loan discharge and reimbursement. A transfer into a non-comparable program of study, for instance, will still allow clear eligibility for discharge and reimbursement of a prior loan obligation. It is imperative for every student involved in an unexpected school closing to research and understand their options.
Call an Ohio Debt Lawyer Today
The Federal Government provides resources that ultimately protect consumers from potentially damaging situations like an unexpected school closure. Many states have enacted their own security measures to provide further protection and resources. Ohio created the Student Tuition Recovery Authority in 1989 to protect students from a loss of pre-paid tuition payment as a result of a school closing. Ohio Students may submit a claim for tuition reimbursement through the State Board of Career Colleges and Schools.
It would be an understatement to describe the ramifications of a sudden school closing as “messy”. Fortunately, there are many resources provided to ensure that your rights as a consumer, and as a student borrower, are being honored as intended. To take full advantage of these resources and know that you are making the best decisions for your academic wellness, contact an experienced consumer law attorney at Luftman, Heck, and Associates. Our advocates can help you determine how to navigate the complexity of student loans.