Florida Coastal School of Law students can apply for forgiveness of their loans

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – There is new help for local law students struggling with student debt.

If you went to Florida Coastal School of Law, you can apply for loan forgiveness.

The school closed last year after its application to remain part of the federal student loan program was denied. The Department of Education said the school was taking advantage of students, forcing them into endless loans. Now, there might be a way out of these loans.

“I’m $250,000 in debt,” said Kristin Rhodus, a class of 2010 graduate from Florida Coastal School of Law.

Ryan Treulieb, a 2015 graduate from the Florida Coastal School of Law, said, “I have over $300,000 in student debt.”

“My current loans are about $350,000,” said Florida Coastal School of Law graduate Kimberly Lambros of 2011.

Before closing in 2021, the US Department of Education found that Jacksonville Law School had failed several standards, including accepting students who were not eligible and allowing them to take out expensive loans.

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“So with the way student loans are, we basically have six months to find a job and start paying it off,” Treulieb explained.

A department official even said last May, “The Florida Coastal School of Law operated in a reckless and irresponsible manner, putting its students at financial risk rather than providing them with the opportunities they sought.”

It is expected that when you go to law school and pass the bar exam, you will have a good chance of getting a job as a lawyer. But that’s not the case for some Florida Coastal School of Law graduates.

“I learned Florida Coastal’s reputation wasn’t really as good as they claimed it was every time I came to school,” Rhodus said.

Treulieb said, “A lot of companies will absolutely refuse to hire Coastal graduates because their reputations and reputations were really going downhill.”

But their student debt could be canceled as part of a set of new proposals from the Biden administration.

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The proposals would be:

  • Limit how loan repayment plans can collect interest

  • Strengthening the Civil Service Loan Cancellation Program

  • Provide loan forgiveness to those who have been defrauded by their school or if a school closes

These proposed changes to the student loan system are now in a 30-day comment period where the public can comment. The ministry said it intended to release a final version of the rules this fall.

Lambros and others News4JAX spoke to said they had already filed their applications for the program called Borrower Defense.

If you went to a for-profit college that you believe misled you and want to apply for this borrower defense program, you can download an application from the Department of Education website.

There is also a list of over 150 schools which the Ministry of Education claims misled students.

So far, nearly half a million applications have been submitted. In Florida, it’s just over 40,000.

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