Attorney General Phil Weiser asks the US Department of Education to cancel debt of thousands of CollegeAmerica and Independence University students
June 30, 2022 (DENVER) – Attorney General Phil Weiser today called on the U.S. Department of Education to cancel the federal student loan debt of more than 10,000 students who attended schools operated by the Center for Excellence in Higher Education from 2006 through its abrupt closure in 2021. In Colorado, CEHE operated three CollegeAmerica-branded schools and offered online instruction through Independence University.
The group borrower defense application submitted today calls on the department to cancel the loans of students who qualify and return money former students paid on those loans because of CEHE’s misrepresentations about the school. Colorado Department of Law investigations show that the school overstated employment placement rates, the potential to earn a higher income or better job after attending a CEHE school, and the affordability and benefits of obtaining a private educational loan through CEHE.
“When students invest tens of thousands of dollars in their education, they should be able to trust in the advertised quality of that investment,” said Weiser. “In Colorado, we will continue to champion students who were wrongfully misled by their institutions. I applaud the department’s recent moves to protect borrowers from other schools and urge the department to cancel the debt of those whose educational experience wasn’t as promised.”
If the Department of Education approves the group application, more than 10,000 student borrowers in Colorado will receive millions of dollars in federal student loan forgiveness.
The Department of Law filed a lawsuit against CEHE in 2014 and the court found that CEHE violated the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, including by making many deceptive statements to prospective students. The decision of the trial court was overturned by the Colorado Court of Appeals, and the Department of Law sought review by the Colorado Supreme Court.
While waiting for a decision, individual borrowers may also file their own applications with the Department of Education relying on the information submitted by the attorney general.
The student loan ombudsperson in the attorney general’s office is a resource for student loan borrowers throughout the state. The ombudsperson is responsible for receiving, reviewing, and attempting to resolve complaints from student loan borrowers. Borrowers with questions about their student loans, including former Colorado students from CEHE schools like CollegeAmerica and Independence University, can click here.