Federal Student Aid PIN (1998 -2015)

Federal Student Aid PIN tombstone

Federal Student Aid PIN, known as PIN to his many friends, died on May 10, 2015, after a long life of public service. Born in Washington, D.C. in 1998, PIN immediately made his presence felt across the country as he helped students complete their FAFSAs electronically on the World Wide Web. For 17 years, PIN reduced the completion time of federal student aid applications by millions of hours. Success with the FAFSA led to an extended career spanning the entire student aid life cycle, ranging from the aforementioned FAFSA and the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, entrance and exit counseling, and signing Master Promissory Notes, all the way to loan history access on the National Student Loan Data System and—more recently—StudentAid.gov. PIN is survived by one child, FSA ID.

On May 10, 2015, we changed the way you log in to Federal Student Aid websites. Students, parents, and borrowers are now required to use an FSA ID, instead of a Federal Student Aid PIN, to log in. If you haven’t logged in to a Federal Student Aid website (such as fafsa.gov or StudentLoans.gov) since May 10, you will need to create an FSA ID before you can log on in the future.

Create an FSA ID here: StudentAid.gov/fsaid

Q: What is an FSA ID and why do I need one?

A: An FSA ID is a username and password you use to access your personal information on Federal Student Aid websites and to sign important documents.

Q: What happened to the Federal Student Aid PIN?

A: On May 10, 2015, after 17 years of dedicated service, the PIN was retired to make way for the more modern and secure FSA ID.

Q: If I already submitted my FAFSA this year, do I already have an FSA ID?

A: The FSA ID replaced the PIN on May 10, 2015. If you submitted your FAFSA before that, you used a PIN. In order to do anything with your FAFSA or any other Federal Student Aid websites, you will now need an FSA ID. You can create one at StudentAid.gov/fsaid

Q: Who needs an FSA ID?

A: Students, parents, and borrowers who need to log in or interact with Federal Student Aid websites need an FSA ID.

Q: Can I make an FSA ID for someone else, such as my child or my parent?

A: No. Only the FSA ID owner should create and use the FSA ID. Why? The FSA ID is a legal signature that should be used only by its owner. If you don’t create your own FSA ID, then you may not be able to access the websites you need to get your financial aid!

Q: How do I get an FSA ID?

A: Go to StudentAid.gov/fsaid to create an FSA ID. If you have a PIN, then you can enter your PIN during the FSA ID registration process so that you won’t need to wait for the Social Security Administration to verify your information. But, if you don’t have a PIN or don’t have it handy, you can still create an FSA ID.

Q: Do I have to wait before I use my FSA ID?

A: You can use your FSA ID to sign and submit a new FAFSA right away. For other tasks, if you didn’t link your PIN when you created your account, you’ll need to wait one–three days for us to confirm your identity with the Social Security Administration. You’ll get an e-mail when this process is complete.

Q: What if I forget my FSA ID username or password?

A: Don’t worry. On our log-in pages, you’ll find links that give you the option of retrieving your username or password through your verified e-mail address or by successfully answering your challenge questions.

For answers to other frequently asked questions about the new FSA ID, go here: StudentAid.gov/fsaid.

Serving More Summer Meals in Rural and Tribal Areas

This blog originally appeared on the White House Rural Council blog.

Catholic Charities began their second year providing meals to children up to age 18 through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) to children at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan Del Valle, TX on May 24, 2012. The SFSP is a federally funded program that is administered by the states in which they reimburse organizations for meals served to children during the summer months. USDA photo. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture)

Catholic Charities began their second year providing meals to children up to age 18 through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) to children at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan Del Valle, TX on May 24, 2012. The SFSP is a federally funded program that is administered by the states in which they reimburse organizations for meals served to children during the summer months. USDA photo. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture)

During the school year, over 21 million children receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch each day through the USDA’s National School Lunch Program. But, when school is out, many children who rely on these meals go hungry. The challenge is particularly great in rural areas and Indian Country, where 15 percent of households are food insecure. In these areas, children and teens often live long distances from designated summer meal sites and lack access to public transportation.

According to Feeding America, 43 percent of counties are rural, but they make up nearly two-thirds of counties with high rates of child food insecurity. The consequences are significant. Several studies have found that food insecurity impacts cognitive development among young children and contributes to poorer school performance, greater likelihood of illness, and higher health costs.

The Obama administration has addressed the challenge head-on, investing unprecedented energy and resources to increasing participation in the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program.

And the impact has been significant. In 2014, in the peak operating month of July, over 45,000 summer meal sites were available across the U.S., a 29 percent increase from 2009. All told, last summer the USDA Food and Nutrition Service delivered 23 million more meals than in the summer of 2009. But we know that in order to get every kid a nutritious meal this summer, we need to get everyone involved, from schools to federal agencies to volunteers in local communities. Check out this handy toolkit to see how you can help!

A smiling girl with orange glasses at lunch provided through assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Nutrition Service (FNS). (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture)

A smiling girl with orange glasses at lunch provided through assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Nutrition Service (FNS). (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture)

Today, the Administration is making a series of announcements designed to serve more meals this summer in rural and tribal areas.

  • Launching the “Summer Meals Site Finder.” Children and parents can now go to www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks on their computer or smartphone and enter an address, city, state, or zip code to find the location and other information of nearby summer meal sites.
  • Bringing in some help! This summer, certain high-need rural and tribal communities will get the help of 60 AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates to help recruit volunteers, raise awareness of the summer meal program, and provide operational support.
  • Partnering with others. We’re teaming up with organizations like the National Football League and Feeding America to help raise awareness, target outreach, and deliver meals in rural and urban areas.

By working together with families, local schools, and private organizations, we are helping to make sure that children can easily get the nutritious meals they need to be healthy and ready to learn when they return to school in the fall.

Arne Duncan is Secretary of Education and Tom Vilsack is Secretary of Agriculture.

Community Center Provides Critical Lifeline in Baltimore

Secretary Duncan enjoys one of the student's projects.

Secretary Duncan enjoys one of the student’s creations.

Secretary Duncan joined U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith in Baltimore Monday for a series of events focused on engaging the community. Their visit comes on the heels of recent unrest in the city and focused on ways communities can keep children safe, healthy and involved in continuous learning during the summer.

During their first stop at Liberty Elementary School, they witnessed firsthand how the school’s use of technology has accelerated student learning and praised the school’s commitment to staying connected with the community through the Liberty Rec and Tech Center.

Arne Duncan visits Liberty Elementary in BaltimoreSecretary Arne Duncan visited #Liberty64 Elementary School this week to celebrate the #WeekofMaking.Learn more → http://www.ed.gov/blog/2015/06/community-center-provides-critical-lifeline-in-baltimore/

Posted by U.S. Department of Education on Thursday, June 18, 2015

The center provides exercise activities, GED classes for adults and runs a food pantry for area families struggling to make ends meet. It almost closed in 2012 due to budget cuts, but thanks to the hard-fought efforts of principal Joe Manko and community activists, it is as vibrant as ever and serves as a critical lifeline for the surrounding community.

“This is the best of an American learning community, where everybody’s all in,” said Smith.

Liberty Elementary students show Arne Duncan and U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Megan Smith, their Adobe Voice projects

Liberty Elementary students show Arne Duncan and U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Megan Smith, their Adobe Voice projects

Following their tour, they participated in a roundtable discussion in conjunction with the National Week of Making to discuss the importance of STEM. The National Week of Making, which the White House and community members across the nation are celebrating from June 12 to 18, is focused on STEM and on fostering a culture of invention, innovation and imagination.

Duncan was determined to get back to Baltimore to see how students were doing following his visit last month to nearby Frederick Douglass High School in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death. He came away impressed with how teachers encouraged students to process the events that engulfed the city through talking, drawing and writing about it.

“Our kids’ physical, social and emotional needs have to be met before we can even talk about going to college and making things and being the leaders of tomorrow,” he said. “You have amazing young people here and what you guys are doing to give them a real chance in life is extraordinary.”

Patrick Kerr is a member of the Communications Development division in the Office of Communications and Outreach

Libia Gil: My Parents Provided Limitless Possibilities through Education

June is Immigrant Heritage Month. In recognition of the diverse linguistic and cultural assets of immigrants and the value they have brought and continue to bring to the United States, the Department of Education will share the immigration stories of its staff throughout the month of June. 

Libia Gil, Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director of the Office of English Language Acquisition at the U.S. Department of Education

Libia Gil, Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director of the Office of English Language Acquisition at the U.S. Department of Education

My family intentionally uprooted its home to pursue a better life in America, the land of immigrants and unlimited opportunities. We entered the country as Costa Rican citizens through the port of entry in Los Angeles, California. My family is multiracial and multilingual and we spent our early years living in various regions of China, my mother’s homeland, and San Jose, Costa Rica where my father’s family resides. I started my formal education in Hong Kong during the British Colonial period and subsequently attended a private school in Tainan, Taiwan operated by Dominican Sisters from Spain who taught in English using Spanish translations for comprehension.

At the time of our arrival as visitors to the country, my mother spoke no English and my father had limited social English language so our roles reversed and I accepted responsibility for reading documents, interpreting and making decisions for all medical, educational and business transactions including the purchase of a car and house. Up until that point, my experiences with day-to-day transportation were limited to scooters and pedi-cabs. We had no exposure to basic activities such as shopping at a supermarket or any technological advances such as a television. Language and cultural differences limited employment access and my father struggled with two full-time manual labor jobs to support the family. Despite living in poverty, we believed that we were wealthy by definition—living in America! My sister and I were thrilled to have our makeshift bedroom in the garage.

It was a major cultural jolt to navigate a transition to a new world with a lack of context and reference points to address complex challenges and the negative experiences of an acculturation process with a shifting identity. Nonetheless, I was the first in my family of five children to enter college. I became the first in my family to enter college and finished my degree. The pursuit of a better life through education was instilled in each member of my family and I marvel with pride at the successful accomplishments of my well-educated siblings: physician; attorney/business owner; county public health director and University of California career program director.

My siblings and I are indebted to our parents who exemplify a pure selfless sacrifice to ensure that their children would have better lives. We have internalized the value of education and taken advantage of opportunities to contribute to the development and welfare of others. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to serve this administration and give back to a country that has provided limitless possibilities for my family and future generations of immigrants and their children, who will provide leadership for the common well-being of all people.

A 1940s wedding picture of Libia’s parents, Phoebe Cecilia Gil Ling and Jose Francisco Gil Jaubert.

A 1940s wedding picture of Libia’s parents, Phoebe Cecilia Gil Ling and Jose Francisco Gil Jaubert.

Libia Gil is the Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director of the Office of English Language Acquisition at the U.S. Department of Education.

Duncan Inspired Again During Second Visit to School Impacted by Hurricane

The last time Secretary Duncan visited New Dorp High School on Staten Island, NY, the school was in crisis mode. It was December 2012, and the East Coast was still recovering from the powerful Hurricane Sandy. During his initial tour, Duncan met with students and teachers whose lives had been turned upside down by the devastating storm.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visits New Drop High School in Staten Island, NY on Friday, June 5, 2015. Duncan previously visited the school after its teachers and students were among the New Yorkers impacted by Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Andy Kropa for the U.S. Department of Education)

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visits New Drop High School in Staten Island, NY on Friday, June 5, 2015. Duncan previously visited the school after its teachers and students were among the New Yorkers impacted by Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Andy Kropa for the U.S. Department of Education)

While many schools in the area shuttered their doors, principal Deidre D’Angelis kept New Dorp running, both as a school and as a center for the community. The school was the only functioning facility in a part of the city that bore the brunt of the storm – thousands of homes were destroyed and the area was without power for weeks. During Duncan’s first visit, he was blown away by the stories of survival and resiliency – many of the students and staff he met saw their homes wash away – and he vowed to come back to visit during happier times.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visits New Drop High School in Staten Island, NY on Friday, June 5, 2015. Duncan previously visited the school after its teachers and students were among the New Yorkers impacted by Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Andy Kropa for the U.S. Department of Education)

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan talks with New Drop Principal Deidre D’Angelis in Staten Island, NY on Friday, June 5, 2015. (Photo by Andy Kropa for the U.S. Department of Education)

Duncan’s visit last week was certainly more celebratory. He sat in on a concert performed by students with disabilities, and watched seniors play basketball during a physical education class. And just like before, he was incredibly moved by what he had witnessed.

“This is just an amazing, amazing school here. Not every kid is lucky enough to go to a school with this much heart and as much sense of community and family and the kind of high expectations,” he said. “To see just the pain and the fear that the kids and staff were dealing with, the amount of support they were giving to each other, it’s extraordinary.”

(Photo by Andy Kropa for the U.S. Department of Education)

(Photo by Andy Kropa for the U.S. Department of Education)

Duncan also used the opportunity to congratulate the school and its staff for the academic turnaround it has experienced under the leadership of principal D’Angelis. He highlighted their success as an example of the amazing results that can occur when a community comes together under extreme circumstances, works hard and does the right thing every day.

“From horrible tragedy, great things can happen. You are doing great things here; what you’ve done is amazing,” he said.

Patrick Kerr is a member of the Communications Development division in the Office of Communications and Outreach

Debt Relief for Corinthian Students—How We’re Working to Protect Taxpayers

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Education announced a new debt relief process for Corinthian Colleges’ students, and new steps to protect students and taxpayers from abusive career colleges.

Corinthian Colleges, Inc.—which operated schools under the names Everest, Heald, and Wyotech—has been the target of consumer and taxpayer protection enforcement efforts by the federal government and other authorities. The Department of Education investigated and found that between 2010 and 2014, Heald College misrepresented the job placement rates of many of its programs. Investigations by other entities are ongoing. Over the past year, Corinthian sold off many of its schools, and the remaining campuses closed shortly before Corinthian went bankrupt.

Here are a few resources from the announcement:

There is a lot of information in the links above, and we’re working to address additional questions through student outreach, social media and our website.

Read More

My ED Internship: A Full Experience

MichelleFugateMy decision to intern at the Department of Education was an easy one. After declaring a Public Affairs major with an Education Policy minor at The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs, I was confident that ED would be the perfect fit for me. Working on the ground and personally experiencing educational inequities at a school in Orlando, Florida, made seeing the policy at the federal level the next best step toward making a change.

I spent my spring semester working with the incredible press team in the Office of Communications and Outreach. The press team has a hand in nearly everything that goes on at the Department of Education, from pre-kindergarten to higher education. Communication is our primary goal on our team (hence the name), but I think the ‘outreach’ segment of our job is what touched me the most.

Throughout my time with the press team, I managed many day-to-day tasks, from news roundups of the Department’s events, press outreach to gain coverage of our initiatives, or social media analysis of hot button issues in the realm of education policy. Our office was constantly moving, as talks to craft a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act began in Congress. But my work extended far beyond the day-to-day. I had the opportunity to prepare reporter bios and issue summaries for Secretary Arne Duncan’s press calls and join the team in staffing the meetings. I attended the Secretary’s budget hearings and speeches as the Congressional discussions with other interns. As my spring capstone course met one evening, we discussed our workdays while waiting for our professor. I eagerly told my group about the Secretary’s press call I sat in on that morning with student reporters that featured a special guest: President Barack Obama!

Seeing the macro, federal level of education through the press office at ED was the perfect counterpart to my on-the-ground experiences in education. It was truly humbling to see the work of my team, the Secretary, and the Department as a whole come together to engage families and communities with our nation’s work in education. We often saw (and heard of) the disparities in our education system and all the work we have to do—our programs can only do so much for so long. But it was unexplainably encouraging to see all of the work the teachers, parents, and students have done, as they go above and beyond anything the Department has started.

Spending a semester at ED working with dedicated, hardworking individuals to engage the community in educating our nation’s children will remain unmatched alongside the rest of my college experience.

Michelle Fugate is a fourth year student at The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs. She interned at the U.S. Department of Education in Spring 2015.


ED is accepting applications for Fall 2015 internships through July 15, 2015.

If you are interested in interning during the upcoming term, there are three things you must send in order to be considered for an interview:

  1. A cover letter summarizing why you wish to work at ED and stating your previous experiences in the field of education, if any. Include which particular offices interest you. (But, keep in mind that – due to the volume of applications we receive – if we accept you as an intern we may not be able to place you in your first-choice office.)
  2. An updated resumé.
  3. A completed copy of the Intern Application.

Prospective interns should send these three documents in one email to: StudentInterns@ed.gov with the subject line formatted as follows: Last Name, First Name: Summer Intern Application.

(Note: For candidates also interested in applying specifically to the Office of General Counsel, please see application requirements here.)

An internship at ED is one of the best ways students can learn about education policy and working in the civil service. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to develop crucial workplace skills that will help you in whatever career path you choose. In addition to our office of communications and outreach, interns can explore fields like education policy, education law, business and finance, research and analysis, intergovernmental relations and public affairs, all while learning about the role federal government plays in education. An internship with ED also provides students with an opportunity to meet fellow students who share your passion for education, learning, and engagement.

Student Chefs Compete in Cooking up Change National Finals

Nine teams of high school culinary students from across the country are headed to Washington, D.C., to compete in the Cooking up Change National Finals on Monday, June 8, at the U.S. Department of Education. Cooking up Change is a dynamic culinary competition that challenges student chefs to create healthy school meals that their peers enjoy and that meet the national nutrition standards for school food. Each team qualified for the national finals by winning a local Cooking up Change competition in their hometown. After preparing and presenting their meals to a panel of esteemed judges—including national policymakers, nutrition experts and celebrity chefs—a national champion will be crowned.

Created in 2007 by Healthy Schools Campaign, Cooking up Change presents the future of school food with healthy, fun, locally inspired meals that appeal to kids. By complying with school nutrition standards and using only commonly available school food service ingredients and equipment, students create recipes that include no more than six steps so that their meals can be easily replicated on a large scale and in real school kitchens. Students have limited time to develop their recipes, test their creations and refine their ideas based on peer feedback and professional nutritional analysis.

Through creativity and hard work, Cooking up Change participants create healthy school meals that their peers love, and that can serve as a model for the future of school food.

“We’re incredibly impressed by and proud of the Cooking up Change National Finals qualifiers” said Healthy Schools Campaign President and CEO Rochelle Davis. “These students are doing much more than taking part in a cooking competition; they’re showing us the way toward solving the political debate over school food. While working within the constraints of the national nutrition standards, they’ve created healthy school meals that their peers love. By taking a page out of their cookbook, we can make healthy and delicious school meals a reality for all students.”

Each Cooking up Change student-designed meal complies with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) school nutrition standards for calories, fat and sodium content, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, including side dishes, which meet USDA Smart Snacks in Schools standards.

Through Cooking up Change, students not only learn about healthy cooking and the complexity of the National School Lunch Program, it’s also an opportunity to urge their national leaders to support student health and learning by maintaining a high bar for school food. It’s a message that’s particularly important this year as Congress moves to reauthorize the school nutrition standards that were recently adopted to address the nation’s childhood obesity crisis.

For more information about the Cooking up Change National Finals and to meet the teams and learn about their award-winning menus, go to cookingupchange.org.

For Corinthian Colleges Students: What You Need to Know about Debt Relief

Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Education announced new steps to protect students from abusive for-profit colleges, as well as a new debt relief process for students at Corinthian Colleges – which operated schools under the names Everest, Heald, and Wyotech.

Information for borrowers is available at the Federal Student Aid (FSA) website, at our new toll-free number for Corinthian students at (855) 279-6207, and from your loan servicer.

Background on what happened at Corinthian 

Corinthian Colleges, Inc. has been the target of consumer and taxpayer protection enforcement efforts by the federal government and other authorities. The Department of Education investigated and found that between 2010 and 2014, Heald College misrepresented the job placement rates of many of its programs. Investigations by other entities are ongoing. Over the past year, Corinthian sold off many of its schools, and the remaining campuses closed shortly before Corinthian went bankrupt.

We’re committed to making the debt relief process as simple, streamlined, and fair as possible. That’s why we’re taking several steps to help borrowers, including appointing a “special master” to help us create a straightforward process for debt relief and implement steps to reduce the burden on borrowers. 

Options for Debt Relief

Our Department is committed to helping students affected by the closure of these schools, or who believe they were victims of fraud by their school. Today, we announced next steps to support students who attended Corinthian schools. Here are answers to some common questions about debt relief, depending on your situation.

I attended a Corinthian school that closed

On April 27, Corinthian College closed its 30 remaining locations (see the list of those closed schools). Students who attended any of these closed schools any time after June 20, 2014 have two options:

  1. Apply for a closed school loan discharge
  2. Transfer earned credit to another institution to continue his or her education in a comparable program. (Students who select this option may still qualify for defense to repayment of previous loans – more information can be found below.)

A closed school discharge means that 100 percent of the federal student loans you took out to attend the school that closed may be forgiven, including a reimbursement of amounts you already paid back. You can find instructions and a form for seeking closed school debt relief here, or by contacting your loan servicer.

A closed school loan discharge may be an option for you if:

  • You did not finish your program at a Corinthian school
  • You did not already transfer your Corinthian credits to another school in a similar program (for instance, if you were taking a criminal justice program and you transferred to another criminal justice program, that would be similar)
  • You were attending the school when it closed, or withdrew no later than June 20, 2014. A closed school discharge normally only applies to students who withdrew (without completing their program) within 120 days of the school’s closing date, or were attending when the school closed. But for Corinthian students, the Secretary of Education has extended the timeframe to include any Corinthian student who withdrew from one of its closed schools on or after June 20, 2014

Please note that if you choose closed-school debt relief, you can’t transfer your credits to a comparable program at another institution.

Visit studentaid.gov for more information on closed-school loan discharge.

What if I want to transfer my credits?

If you transfer your credits to a similar program at another institution, you cannot request closed-school debt relief. However, if you believe you have a claim against your school under state law, such as fraud, you may still pursue debt relief based on borrower defense to repayment, as described below – even if you transfer your credits to another school

What if I need help? 

Visit the contact us page on the FSA website, or use any of the options listed above. Or, for further help, the Department is working with an independent group of organizations and institutions that are setting up a volunteer advising corps to help Corinthian students navigate the different options. Contact them to talk to a volunteer counselor. (Note that as the Department is not managing this initiative, it cannot endorse any advice that a student may receive.)

I believe I was a victim of fraud or another violation of state law at a Corinthian school (whether that school closed or not)

If you were a student at a Corinthian School—Everest, Heald, or Wyotech—and you believe you were a victim of fraud or other violations of state law by the school, you can make a claim for debt relief under a legal rule called “borrower defense to repayment.” This rule applies to all public, private and for-profit schools across the country, and requires students to show that they have a legal claim against their college.

If you were a student at a Corinthian school and you apply, or intend to apply, for borrower defense, you have the option to place your federal loans into forbearance (a special permission to stop payments) while your claim is being resolved, to ensure you do not fall behind on your loan. For students in default, you may request a stop to collection activity. However, interest will continue to accrue during the forbearance or stopped collections period. You may also decide to opt out of forbearance or stopped collections.

Visit studentaid.gov/Corinthian for more information on filing a borrower defense claim and on putting your loans into forbearance

For Certain Heald College Students

The Department has carried out an investigation and determined that Corinthian misrepresented job placement rates for a majority of programs at its Heald College campuses between 2010 and 2014. In an effort to simplify and speed up the process of applying for loan forgiveness, the Department has established that if you relied on those incorrect placement rates, you may be entitled to a discharge of their Federal Direct Student loans you took out to attend those programs through a streamlined process. That process can be done by filling out a straightforward attestation form. In addition, you may request to have your federal loans placed into forbearance or, for defaulted loans, to have collections stopped while your claim is reviewed.

Visit studentaid.gov/Corinthian for more information about how the Heald College findings may affect you.

Additional Information:

If you are a Corinthian student seeking debt relief of any type and didn’t get your question answered, please visit the FSA website or call our toll-free number, (855) 279-6207, and a staff member will provide the information you need.

Debt Relief for Corinthian Colleges Students

Too many of America’s large “career colleges” are failing to live up to the name. Rather than providing students with the opportunity for a solid education that leads to a good job, some of these institutions — often run by for-profit companies — have left students with lots of debt and few job prospects, putting both students and taxpayers at risk. This Administration is committed to changing that, through action to hold institutions accountable and to ensure Americans are protected from unscrupulous colleges that deny students meaningful educational opportunities and leave taxpayers holding the bag.

Over the past six years, the Department of Education has taken unprecedented actions to establish tougher regulations to prevent misleading claims by career colleges. The Department also issued “gainful employment” regulations, which will help ensure that students at career colleges don’t end up with debt they cannot repay. This Department has also cracked down on bad actors through investigations and enforcement to hold colleges accountable in order to improving the value of their programs, protect students from abusive colleges, and safeguard the interests of taxpayers.

College remains the best investment students can make in their future – and students deserve a fair and honest deal. And some for-profit career colleges play a critical role in helping students succeed in their educational and training pursuits. However, when unscrupulous companies take advantage of students, federal and state agencies must step in, and Congress must support those efforts.

Secretary Duncan has directed our team to ensure that students who have been defrauded by their college, or because their school closed down, receive every penny of the debt relief they are entitled to, as efficiently and easily as possible. That need has grown pressing in recent months because of the wind down and ultimate collapse of Corinthian Colleges Inc. (known under the brand names Heald, WyoTech and Everest), following enforcement actions by this Administration and scrutiny by other enforcement entities. Today, our Department is announcing next steps to support students who attended Corinthian schools. We are also committed to ensuring accountability and to continue working aggressively toward reforms that ensure that schools are held responsible for their actions.

How debt relief will work for Corinthian students

Our team has been at work to develop a streamlined process for getting debt relief to Corinthian students. Our aim is to make the process of forgiving loans fair, clear and efficient.

Some Corinthian schools closed down, while others were sold but remain open. We are establishing plans to ensure debt relief for:

  • Students whose schools have closed down
  • Students who believe they were victims of fraud, whether their school closed or not

These processes are described in our fact sheet and are summarized here.

Information for students

If you are a Corinthian student seeking debt relief of either type, please visit the FSA website or call toll-free at (855) 279-6207 and a staff member will provide the information you need.

For Corinthian students whose schools closed

Students who were enrolled at Corinthian schools that closed can now choose between discharging their student loans (called a “closed school discharge”) and transferring their credits to another school. We are reaching out to the affected students and providing clear information and loan discharge applications on the FSA website.

Normally, only students who withdrew (without completing their programs) within 120 days of a school’s closing, or who were attending the school when it closed, may receive a closed school discharge. Today, we are announcing that the Secretary is exercising his discretionary authority to extend that time frame to include students who withdrew from one of the closed schools on or after June 20, 2014. That is the date when Corinthian signed an agreement with the Department to close or sell all its schools.

If they believe they were defrauded, students whose schools closed may opt for debt relief under borrower defense, as described below, rather than closed-school loan discharge.

For those who need help with closed-school debt relief, the Department is working with an independent group of organizations and institutions, including the California State University System, the California Community College System, Beyond 12, and financial aid counselors, who have teamed up to create a volunteer advisor corps to help Corinthian students navigate their options. Contact them at NextStepsEDU.org to talk to a volunteer advisor. The Department did not create this corps and there may be other organizations that are available to help students. We encourage all students to investigate the best available avenues for assistance.

For former Corinthian students who would like to seek debt relief because of fraud, including Heald College students

Borrowers can make a claim for debt relief because of fraud under a legal rule called “borrower defense to repayment.” This rule requires students to show that they were defrauded by their college under a state’s laws, and we are committed to working with students to make that the simplest, fastest process possible.

In order to ensure that students do not fall behind on payments or default on their loans before claims can be resolved, we will offer all applicants for debt relief the option to go into loan forbearance (a special permission to stop payments), and for students in default, to halt collection activity.

In order to promote efficiency in the resolution of claims and to minimize the burden on students, wherever possible, we will work to use legal findings applicable to groups of students (for example, an entire academic program at a specific campus) to resolve students’ claims. As a first step, in this particular case, the Department has already established that Corinthian misrepresented job placement rates for a majority of programs at its Heald College campuses between 2010 and 2014. Today, we are announcing that these serious findings entitle the defrauded students enrolled in these programs to a discharge of their Federal Direct Student loans, based on a simple attestation that they relied on those fraudulent rates. And we are providing a simple form that will allow students to quickly give us the information we need to give them debt relief.

Going forward, the Department will appoint a special master to oversee borrower defense issues and charge that person with ensuring our process is clear and fair, including a simple, streamlined application for debt relief.

Holding Institutions Accountable

America’s students deserve protection against unscrupulous companies that leave students deep in debt, and with few prospects for employment. Our Administration has taken and will continue to take aggressive steps to protect students and to hold schools accountable, including:

  • Establishing new student aid rules to protect students and taxpayers, to ensure students receive an education that leads to good job prospects.
  • Strengthening oversight and compliance through inter-agency and Department teams focused on monitoring for-profit institutions.
  • Creating options that make student debt more manageable for borrowers, through flexible repayment options such as the Pay As You Earn plan, which caps student loan payments at 10 percent of a borrower’s discretionary income
  • Protecting military service members, veterans and their families from predatory actions by for-profit colleges
  • Providing families with clear information to make a smart college choice, by providing a wealth of consumer tools designed to help students and families decide which college is right for them

It is impossible not to be moved by the stories of students whose futures were damaged by the institutions they once believed were setting them on a path to a better life. These processes will offer them real and badly needed help. Loan forgiveness can’t give students back the time they invested at Corinthian. But it will help them make a fresh start.

Ted Mitchell is U.S. Under Secretary of Education.

Let’s Stop Summer Hunger

Let's Stop Summer Hunger GraphicDuring the school year, more than 21 million children rely on free and reduced school meals, but during the summer, only 3.8 million participate in the USDA’s summer meals program. This means that too many kids are at risk of hunger because they are out of school. For many students, school meals provide for over half of their daily calories during the school year, which means that providing these children with access to healthy meals is a big priority.

To help prevent summer hunger, the USDA partners with schools, local governments, and community organizations to provide free meals to children during the summer.

This means that any child under the age of 18 can go to a designated summer meal site and eat for free. But we need your help in ensuring that no child goes hungry this summer. During Summer Food Service Program Kick Off Week, observed June 1- 5, our colleagues at USDA want to invite everyone to help spread the word about this important program.

How you can help:

Be a Summer Meal champion in your community! Check out USDA’s Summer Meals Toolkit:

  • Get the word out through community-based outreach
  • Find info on program policy and administration
  • Get ideas for planning and collaborating with stakeholders

The USDA also has a Summer Food site finder that will be updated soon.

Learn more about Summer Food Service Program.

Colorado District Delivers Civil Rights Change

Each day we have the pleasure and honor to meet and work with extraordinary school leaders who are working hard to deliver on the hopes we, as parents, have for our own children and for all students in schools. We want to share the story of one such leader in Colorado, whose work we are excited to see, and whose success in supporting parental involvement and engendering community support for schools we’d like to see replicated in more school communities around the country.

In Colorado’s Adams County School District 14, Superintendent Patrick Sánchez has accomplished transformative change against very tall odds. In April 2014, our Office for Civil Rights (OCR) resolved a complaint against the district to fix what had become a very hostile environment for Latino students, parents and staff. During our investigation we confirmed, for example, that the district had prohibited students from speaking Spanish at school, even in social settings. Staff reportedly used racially hostile language toward Latino students and denigrated students’ cultural backgrounds.

A Latino staff member also reported to us that a principal justified messy bathrooms because “Mexicans are poor and don’t use toilet paper,” and “there are few restrooms in Mexico.” As a cause of the racially hostile environment, many Latino staff were forced to resign or were removed from their jobs.

This is the environment that Superintendent Sánchez sought to immediately fix when he took the reins in July 2012, after the previous Superintendent’s resignation following the start of our investigation. Since that time, the Adams 14 district has made impressive gains to deliver equal educational opportunity to the district’s 7,000+ students. Superintendent Sánchez publicly apologized to parents, the community and staff for harm that they suffered in the past, and has made great strides in restoring the community’s trust and involvement in the district.

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