According to a statement released Thursday, April 28, 2022, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is forming a coalition to cancel approximately $50 million in student loan debt for 7,000 Pennsylvania students who attended the for-profit Brightwood Career Institute.
“These borrowers sought out an education to build new skills and get ahead in their careers,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Instead, this institution misrepresented its credentials and left students in the dark. We are calling on the Department of Education to take action to help Pennsylvania borrowers and provide debt relief.”
According to the AG Shapiro’s statement, in 2021, his office helped cancel approximately $2.6 million in private Pennsylvania student loans held by 1,300 students who attended Brightwood Career Institute locations in Pennsylvania. AG Shapiro alleges Education Corporation of America (ECA), Brightwood’s parent company, misrepresented its accreditation status, overstating its ability to obtain a new accreditation. The school’s status was decertified in 2016, disqualifying them from Title IV Federal Student Aid Programs. In addition to multiple campuses across Pennsylvania, ECA also operated Virginia College, Ecotech, and the Golf Academy of America.
Brightwood Career Institute closed its last Pennsylvania campus in 2018, breaking promises to students to provide lifetime career counseling. Federal law allows the Department of Education to forgive student loans whenever borrowers are deceived during the student loan process. The six Attorneys General are requesting full relief through the Borrower Defense Fund for outstanding loans and student loan payments that borrowers have already repaid. So far, Attorneys General from five other states have joined AG Shapiro’s effort. They include Alabama, California, Colorado, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Read the Borrower Defense Application here.
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