HLS’s Project on Predatory Student Lending argued that the Department of Education did not consider the arguments or evidence presented by their client before rejecting her claim.
On June 9th, the United States District Court for the Central District of California issued an Order that directs the Department of Education to rule on the loan relief application of a former Corinthian student that has been pending for over two years. To date, the Department of Education has not ruled on thousands of applications for loan relief submitted by borrowers whose federal student loans were originated by private banks under the Federal Family Education Loan Program.
The Plaintiff, Sarah Dieffenbacher, filed her first application for loan relief in March 2015. Her loans went into default while her application was still pending. In late 2016, Sarah received a notice that her wages would be garnished. She works as a home health care phlebotomist to support herself and her four children. She objected to the wage garnishment because the terms of her loan and federal law both provide that Corinthian’s fraudulent actions render her loans unenforceable. She asked the Department to hold the hearing on her objections to which she was entitled.
After the Department of Education overruled her objection, citing the fact that her file included a signed loan contract, and ordered the garnishment to go forward, Sarah filed a lawsuit against the Department in March. Represented by the Project on Predatory Student Lending of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, she argued that the Department did not consider the arguments or evidence she presented before rejecting her claim. As the Court noted, her application was supported by 254 pages of exhibits, which included a sworn statement from Sarah as well as records from the Attorney General of California regarding documented misconduct on the part of Everest and its parent company. The Department also did not provide Sarah with the requested hearing before issuing a summary denial.