ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Nearly 2,000 New Mexicans are getting their federal student loans discharged after getting “ripped off,” according to the state’s Attorney General. The students, who attended ITT Technical Institute between 2005 and 2016, are looking to get around $38.8 million in total debt relief.
The news comes following an investigation into ITT Technical Institute and previous litigation. This isn’t the first time the U.S. Department of Education has moved to erase ITT Tech student debt — nationwide the Education Department has already announced more than $1 billion in loan forgiveness.
Now, a total of nearly $4 billion nationwide is up for loan forgiveness, according to New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas. Of that, 1,950 New Mexicans who attended ITT Tech will have their federal loans wiped without any action on their part, according to Balderas.
“ITT ripped off New Mexican students who were pursuing higher education,” Balderas said in a news release. The debt relief will help those students as they move forward in life, he adds.
ITT Tech closed its doors in 2016. At the time, Balderas was fighting the school in court, arguing that the school was “deceiving students by lying about the accreditation of its nursing program” and engaging in what Balderas calls “predatory practices.”
The U.S. Department of Education says ITT Tech “engaged in widespread misrepresentations about the true state of its financial health and misled students into taking out unaffordable private loans that were allegedly portrayed as grant aid.” They say this kept students in-school and under the terms of their loans when they otherwise would have left.
The U.S. Department of Education’s decision to dismiss additional student debt was based on evidence put forward by the attorneys general of several states, including New Mexico, Iowa, and half the country’s states, a press release says. The decision was also based on testimony from former ITT Tech managers and recruiters.
The decision will apply to the remaining student debt left after previous forgiveness programs. It applies to borrowers who attended ITT Tech from January 1, 2005, through September 2016.