Paul L. Caron

Friday, August 5, 2022

Arizona Summit, Charlotte, And Florida Coastal Law Grads Have Their Student Loans Forgiven As Part Of $6 Billion Class-Action Settlement

The Washington Post reports that a federal court yesterday approved a $6 billion settlement for 200,000 federal student loan borrowers at more than 150 schools in a class-action lawsuit. Florida Times-Union, $6 Billion Loan Settlement Could Spare Grads of Florida Coastal School of Law, Business Schools:

InfiLaw (2017)Former Florida Coastal School of Law students have been hurrying to request forgiveness of sometimes staggering student loan debts ahead of a court order that could cancel $6 billion in obligations haunting people who attended for-profit schools nationwide.

“My time is now or never,” said Natacha Ciezki, who said that including interest she owes about $500,000 for the law degree she earned in Jacksonville in 2014. ...

Florida Coastal, which closed its doors last year, was among the schools where the Education Department agreed to “presumptive relief” for students who had filed borrower defense applications before the settlement was signed June 22.

That presumption, making forgiveness the default response for those applications, was based on “strong indicia regarding substantial misconduct by listed schools … and the high rate of class members with applications,” said a joint motion that lawyers in the class action sent to U.S. District Judge William Alsup for his approval. ...

The settlement also pledges that people filing borrower defense applications now will have their claims reviewed and decided within 36 months as long as the requests are made before Alsup approves the settlement. If not, their debts will be canceled, says the agreement.

That pledge has triggered a number of former Florida Coastal students to submit applications before a hearing Alsup scheduled for Thursday afternoon. The students — some working now as attorneys, others not — said they were paying for education and services that often fell short of the school's sales pitches.

“They made promises … [to] kind of incentivize you to go to the school. They said they would help with career development, they would help find jobs,” said Ryan Treulieb, a 2015 graduate who said those promises were empty.

“It took me two and a half, three years to find my first attorney job. … It was very nerve-wracking,” said the St. Augustine resident, who said he owes more than $300,000 for his time in law school, with payments that came due long before anyone hired him.

Treulieb, who works remotely for a South Florida firm representing homeowners whose insurance companies aren’t living up to coverage commitments, said the law school seems to have a weak reputation with big Jacksonville law firms, a thought that other graduates echoed.

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