Borrower Defense Updates
For the most up-to-date information on borrower defense, including newly approved groups, visit StudentAid.gov/borrower-defense. Please continue reading below for common questions and answers regarding borrower defense discharges and what it may mean for you.
Does the borrower defense discharge apply to all loans I took out to pay for my program?
No, this borrower defense discharge applies only to your Direct Loans. This borrower defense discharge does not apply to private student loans or other loans you may have received from programs administered by federal or state agencies, including other programs administered by ED.
ED will proceed with the applicable discharge of your Direct Loans. If some of your federal student loans are Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans and/or Federal Perkins Loan Program loans, they are not eligible for discharge under the Borrower Defense to Repayment law or regulations.
Who approves Borrower Defense Discharge claims?
The Department of Education regulates, reviews, and approves or denies borrower defense to repayment claims. Nelnet is unable to answer questions related to whether loans will be approved, when they may be approved, or why an application has been denied. You can check the status of your application by calling 855.279.6207 or emailing BorrowerDefense@ed.gov.
What’s happening with my discharge claim?
If you’ve attended a school that’s eligible for borrower defense discharge and have submitted an application, or if you’ve received a letter from ED that you have been approved, we are currently processing the discharge request. Your account will be in forbearance until your borrower defense discharge is processed, and no payments will be due.
Please note that this effort has brought discharge relief to an unprecedented number of borrowers. We are working with ED to complete your discharge claim as soon as possible. Due to the large volume, it is anticipated that discharges will be finalized and processed by the end of 2023. The approved loans will be removed from your credit report within 60 days of being discharged.
What groups have been approved for discharge?
Groups that have been approved by ED for discharge include, Marinello Schools of Beauty, Corinthian Colleges, Inc., ITT Technical Institute, and Westwood Colleges. For a complete list of schools, please continue to visit Federal Student Aid’s (FSA) borrower defense updates page.
Which loans will be discharged?
Your federal student loans related to your borrower defense discharge application will be discharged completely if approved. There are no longer partial discharges on eligible loans.
This also does not apply to private student loans or other federal loans that you may have taken out to pay for higher education. You will be responsible for repaying those other loans, if applicable, including interest that accrued during the forbearance or stopped collections period.
Will I receive a refund?
If your borrower defense discharge claim is approved, you will receive a discharge and/or refund on all eligible loans. All payments on eligible loans made to ED will be refunded. Payments not made to the Department will not be refunded. This means you would no longer have to make payments on those loans associated with the school that misled you, and you may have some of your past loan payments refunded to you. You will receive a communication notifying you that your borrower defense discharge claim has been approved and, if applicable, that a refund is due.
Should I be making payments now?
If you have federal student loans that qualify for borrower defense discharge, you are currently in the COVID-19 forbearance and have not been making any payments since March 2020. When the payment pause ends, you may not need to start repayment if your application is pending. For more details, please visit FSA’s borrower defense updates page or call the borrower defense hotline at 855.279.6207.
How is credit reporting updated?
Once the borrower defense discharge is complete, Nelnet will send a request to each of the consumer reporting agencies for the loan(s) to be removed from your credit report. The request is sent within 30 days of completing the discharge and can take up to 60 days for your credit report to update.