California Attorney General Action

action

#1

This action is for everyone who attended a for-profit school who currently lives in California (so even if you used to live somewhere else or the for-profit school was located somewhere else, if you now live in CA this is for you).

As you probably already know, the Department of Education has been letting individual defense to repayment (DTR) applications sit on a shelf and gather dust. Many people have been waiting years for a decision on their individual application. The Department of Education’s strategy here seems to be to wait it out. They want to ignore these DTRs long enough for them to have time to rewrite the rules. Once they have rewritten the rules, they will be able to deny many more people the debt relief they deserve. At the moment we have no mechanism to force the Department of Education to actually process and make a decision on an individual DTR.

BUT, the good news is that there is another option here. The Attorney General can file a group discharge application which would cover all students who attended for-profits like Corinthian, ITT Tech, AI and other schools. Unlike an individual DTR, we do have a way to force them to respond to these group wide DTRs. Two other states have already done this, Massecuttes and Illinois. In a recent court case the judge ruled that the Department of Education cannot ignore these group DTRsin the same way that they are ignoring individual DTRs.

So what we want to do is organize everyone in California who has attended one of these schools to email the Attorney General’s office and tell them to file a group wide DTR.

We’ve created a template of for you to follow here:

What we would ideally like is to get the right contact person within the CA AG office to coordinate with, but for right now all of these letters should be routed through the “Public Inquiry Unit” so please email your letter to them at piu@doj.ca.gov
Please also cc me at thomas@debtcollective.org to help keep track of how many emails we have sent.

We have been talking with staffers in the Massecuttets AG office to help learn what is effective. They told us that it only takes a few dozen people to contact them about the same issue for it to get their attention. So let’s make a goal of getting 30 emails from people in California to get their attention. After that we can organize a group phone call or even in-person visits to their office to follow up and help them with the process of filing one of these group DTRs.

Please comment below if you get a response and share it with the rest of the group.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask them below. And if you know of anyone else in California who attended a for-profit school, like former classmates, friends or relatives, please recruit them to help with this action!


pinned #2

#4

It would be nice to have a sample for each of the items that we can send in to get a better idea of what it should look like.


#5

Hi @dgurtner, I’m not quite sure what you are saying. Have you taken a look at the sample letter? https://docs.google.com/document/d/1R-hpV_M8PgURQMg4jiCy17khta9dBjfHD2R19WopwVA/edit?usp=sharing


#6

Just putting the finishing touches on mine and I will probably be sending it off tomorrow.


#7

Please comment below if you have gotten a response.

So far the responses I have seen from the CA AG have been disappointing to say the least. What we need is the right staff person in the CA AG office who deals with student debt issues. But we don’t know who that is and that information is not public.

Instead the CA AG office has what they call a “public inquiry unit” which basically serves as a buffer or intake center. Communication from the public goes through them and they route it to the correct person.

I spoke with someone named Susana Fernandez in the public inquiry unit. She told me that she would route your letters to the appropriate staffer in the CA AG office. Based on her responses, it looks like she is not doing that and instead is giving us the runaround with a BS response that just lists a bunch of other people to contact at the Department of Education, CFPB, etc. It is obvious that she is either not reading your letters at all, or she doesn’t understand what they are about (which is not surprising since she is not the right person to understand them! We need her to put is in touch with the right person!)

I will be following up with Susana Fernandez. If we cannot get the CA AG office to take us seriously, we might have to change tactics and get a little more aggressive. But I remain hopeful that we can get the right point person and progress with this in a more cooperative fashion.


#8

I’m going to assume by the specific wording of your article, that even if we attended school in CA, but now reside elsewhere, this won’t apply to us.


#9

HI @SteveS801, it still applies to you, but you would write to the attorney general in the state you currently live in instead of to the CA AG.

What state do you live in? We are slowly but surely adding more states to this campaign, so if we don’t already have a campaign set up for your state we might have one soon.


#10

I emailed you my letter as it is now and would love some feedback if you think it is good to send - thanks!