Borrower Offense to Cancelation


In 2015 in the wake of for-profit giant Corinthian College collapse, leaving its students holding the bag. The Debt Collective and allies at the Project on Predatory Student Lending stepped in and brought to light the 1995 Borrower Defense to Repayment (BDTR) process that allows students who have been defrauded by a college, university, or career school to seek forgiveness for their federal student loans, helped the Corinthian 15 establish a debt strike and created the first Borrower Defense to Repayment application for borrowers to send to the Department of Education. The Debt Collective has not stopped fighting since. 

The 2024 election and lawsuits filed by fraudulent for-profit schools put the future of borrower defense in jeopardy. Additionally all debt canceled before 2025 will not be subject to federal taxes. We have a few months to win as much cancellation as we can before we can’t be certain what the future of borrower defense will be.

Borrower Offense is an aggressive plan to appeal the department of education for student loan cancellation for a number of proven bad actor For-profit schools as quickly as possible.


So far Borrower Defense has won over $20 billion of cancellation for defrauded students, but the law has never been applied fully. If it was, hundreds of billions of dollars of fraudulent debt should be canceled. The Department of Education has a massive backlog of individual borrower defense applications which it is processing too slowly.

Although the Department of Education already knows which schools are fraudulent and can cancel the debt today, they are instead waiting for individual borrowers to stumble upon the borrower defense protections in random Reddit or Facebook posts. The Department of Education has never sent a single letter or email to student borrowers informing of their right to assert a borrower defense to repayment. 

So far most cancellation has happened in one of two ways. The Project on Predatory Student Lending filed a class action lawsuit for failure to process Borrower Defense applications resulting in a settlement that canceled a massive amount of debt. Secondly, the Department of Education has issued a handful of school-based discharges for students who attended schools like Corinthian College, ITT Tech and Art Institute, regardless of whether students filed an individual borrower defense or not.


The truth is that the Department of Education already has mountains of evidence that certain schools have committed fraud. All they need to do is act. We need to do that by organizing people power to force them to act.

As a part of that effort we will be conducting a people’s investigation compiling the evidence that already exists. But it will take creativity, courage, and direct action to make them do the right thing while we still have a chance.


Right now we have several schools actively working on this strategy. 

If you attended any of these schools, we would love to hear your story!

We are currently collecting borrower data to use for our research and fight for cancelation. Click on the link to our form page.


If your school is not listed and you are motivated to join our fight, please fill out this quick form below.

History of For-Profit Organizing by the Debt Collective.

Coming soon!