UNITED STATES NEWS

Biden administration cancels loans for former Ashford U. students, with plans to recoup costs

Aug 30, 2023, 12:54 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is canceling $72 million in student loans for 2,300 borrowers who say they were cheated by Ashford University, a former for-profit college that was purchased by the University of Arizona in 2020.

The Education Department announced the action Wednesday, saying it will seek to recoup the money from the University of Arizona. The university did not immediately provide a comment.

Before its sale, Ashford was an online for-profit college that enrolled more than 100,000 students. It was owned by the company Zovio and based in San Diego.

A California court in 2022 found that Ashford frequently lied to students to get them to enroll. Its recruiters misled students about the college’s accreditation, costs and the amount of time it would take to graduate, the court concluded.

That lawsuit, brough by the state of California, was the basis of the Education Department’s cancellation.

President Joe Biden said his administration “won’t stand for colleges taking advantage of hardworking students and borrowers.”

“These borrowers were lied to about the cost of attending Ashford, were misled about how long it would take to get a degree, and were deceived about the transferability of Ashford credits,” Biden said in a statement. “They deserve better.”

The action will automatically discharge loans for 2,300 borrowers who attended Ashford from March 2009 through April 2020 and applied for cancellation through the Education Department’s borrower defense program. Those borrowers will see their loan balances zeroed out, and they will be refunded for payments on their federal loans.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta encouraged other former Ashford students to apply for relief if they were deceived.

“What Ashford University did to its students was unconscionable and illegal,” Bonta said. “That’s why the California Department of Justice took Ashford and its parent company to court.”

Under its previous ownership, Ashford’s recruiters told students they would be able to work as teachers, social workers, nurses and drug and alcohol counselors, but the school never got accreditation for those professions, according to California’s lawsuit.

Recruiters also told potential students they would never face out-of-pocket costs, which wasn’t always true, and they boasted about “accelerated” programs, even though the bachelor’s degree programs were structured to take five years to finish, the suit said.

Only 25% of Ashford students graduated within eight years of enrolling.

The court ruled in favor of California in 2022 after an 18-day trial and imposed a civil penalty of $22.3 million against Ashford. The penalty is being appealed.

The University of Arizona purchased Ashford University in 2020 and turned it into an online branch of the school, changing its name to the University of Arizona Global Campus.

It’s one of several for-profit colleges that have been purchased and absorbed by nonprofit universities, including Purdue University’s purchase of Kaplan University, and the University of Idaho’s purchase of the University of Phoenix.

The Biden administration is separately taking steps to propose widespread student debt cancellation after the Supreme Court rejected the president’s previous proposal in June. The Education Department is gathering negotiators for a rulemaking process that will get underway in October.

The department said it plans to issue a final rule on cancellation sometime next year.

___

The Associated Press education team receives support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

United States News

FILE - Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference at the Federal Res...

Associated Press

Powell says Federal Reserve is more confident inflation is slowing to its target

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chair Jerome Powell said Monday that the Federal Reserve is becoming more convinced that inflation is headed back to its 2% target and said the Fed would cut rates before the pace of price increases actually reached that point. “We’ve had three better readings, and if you average them, that’s a pretty […]

3 minutes ago

FILE - Herring are unloaded from a fishing boat in Rockland, Maine, July 8, 2015. Several commercia...

Associated Press

New England fishermen sentenced in complex herring fraud case

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Several commercial fishermen in New England have been sentenced in a fraud scheme that centered on a critically important species of bait fish and that prosecutors described as complex and wide-ranging. The fishermen were sentenced for “knowingly subverting commercial fishing reporting requirements” in a scheme involving Atlantic herring, prosecutors said in […]

15 minutes ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump addresses the crowd at a campaign e...

Associated Press

What to know about the attempt on Trump’s life and its aftermath

The FBI is still trying to determine a motive behind Saturday’s attempt to assassinate former President Donald Trump, while the tone of this week’s Republican convention in Milwaukee likely will be dominated by the violence. A former fire chief who was killed at Trump’s Pennsylvania rally is being remembered as a “man of conviction.” The […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Mechanical issues prompt 2 Delta Air Lines flights to divert, return to airport

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Two Delta Air Lines flights were diverted over the weekend because of mechanical issues, the FAA said Monday. Delta flight 927, en route from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to Atlanta, was diverted to St. Louis shortly before noon Saturday because of an issue with cabin pressure, the airline said in a statement. […]

3 hours ago

FILE - An overwhelmed residents surveys the damage following flooding caused by the remnants of Hur...

Associated Press

Vermont seeks federal damage assessment for floods caused by Hurricane Beryl’s remnants

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont is seeking an assessment to determine whether last week’s flooding, which damaged homes, knocked down bridges and washed out roads, qualifies for a federal disaster declaration and aid. The flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Beryl happened a year after the state experienced catastrophic flooding that left some victims still […]

3 hours ago

In this image from video provided by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Aileen Cannon testifies virtua...

Associated Press

Federal judge dismisses Trump classified documents case

A federal judge dismissed Donald Trump's classified documents case over concerns about the appointment of the prosecutor.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Biden administration cancels loans for former Ashford U. students, with plans to recoup costs