For the last week, we’ve been telling you about the ongoing negotiations between the U.S. Dept. of Education and Corinthian Colleges, the operators of the for-profit Everest University, WyoTech, and Heald College chains, that would sell off some of the schools and wind-down the others. Some people have asked why the government doesn’t just let Corinthian collapse. Part of the reason is that it would leave some 72,000 students in the lurch, but a big motivating factor is that the government could end waving bye-bye to more than $1 billion in student loan debt.
What a lot people don’t know — because it doesn’t happen very often — is that one of the few ways the government will discharge 100 percent of someone’s student loan debt is if their school completely shuts down and the student doesn’t continue her education elsewhere.
And it’s not just currently enrolled students that could get out of their loan obligation. If you withdraw from a school and it closes within 120 days, you may also qualify for a discharge. Additionally, those who are on an official leave of absence from the school when it closes may have a way out of their federal student loans.