This action is for everyone who attended a for-profit school who currently lives in Maine (so even if you used to live somewhere else or the for-profit school was located somewhere else, if you now live in Maine 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 DTRs in the same way that they are ignoring individual DTRs.
So what we want to do is organize everyone in Maine 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 below.
BCC firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can keep track of how many people have sent letters.
RE: Group Discharge of Fraudulent Federal Student Loans
The Office of Attorney General Aaron Frey
6 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333
I am a constituent and a former student of a predatory for-profit college. I am writing to ask you to file what is known as a group discharge application under the 2016 regulations of the Borrower Defense to Repayment law. This would help people like me and many others in Maine who have been defrauded by a predatory for-profit school. Other states Attorneys General like Massachusetts and Illinois have already taken this step.
First, I recognize that your office has already been a leader on this issue. Along with Attorneys General in 19 other states, your office has pressured the Department to follow the 2016 regulations and to do right by people in my situation. For that effort, I and thousands of others thank you. I have already filed an individual Borrower Defense to Repayment, but the Department of Education so far has refused to make a decision on this claim. Their strategy seems to be to ignore these claims long enough until they can rewrite the rules in 2020 and then deny these claims. Building on the good work your office has already done, we now need to act to make the most of the 2016 regulations while they are enforced.
Unlike the individual borrower defense applications, a federal judge in Williams v. DeVos ruled that the Department of Education cannot ignore a group discharge application when filed by a state Attorney General. This is why even though I have already filed an individual claim, a group discharge application is needed.
I attended [NAME OF SCHOOL] in [CITY] from [YEARS ATTENDED]. I am writing to tell you my story of being preyed on and scammed by my school.
[TELL YOUR STORY HERE.]
I am now organizing with other defrauded borrowers as part of the Debt Collective, a membership organization for people in debt. I am writing in the hope that you will take action to ensure that my federal student loans, as well as the loans of every person in our state who was scammed by a for-profit school, are canceled. For the last two years, Betsy DeVos has refused to cancel predatory loans even though the law requires that she do so. As the top law enforcement officer in Maine, I am confident that you will do all you can to help by filing a group discharge application.
I look forward to hearing from you and learning more about how I and other members of the Debt Collective can support you in advancing the cause for debt relief.
[YOUR PHONE NUMBER]