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University of Phoenix to pay millions in loan repayment discharges

A red bird with one wing folded up to the left of the logo and the words "University of Phoenix" under it.
University of Phoenix

Students enrolled at the University of Phoenix between Sept. 12, 2012 and Dec. 31, 2014 are getting nearly $37 million in borrower defense to repayment discharges after the Biden Administration approved the move Thursday. The University of Idaho is currently in talks to purchase the University of Phoenix.

Over 1,200 students applied for relief and will be getting some of the payout. A news release from the Biden Administration says The U.S. Department of Education found a national ad campaign from the University of Phoenix misled prospective students by falsely saying its corporate partnerships would benefit students by being able to give them hiring preferences.

No such benefits existed, according to the release. According to the Federal Student Aid website, people may have a borrower defense to repayment if the school engaged in "certain misconduct related to the making of a federal loan or the educational services it provided which caused you harm warranting a full discharge of your applicable federal Direct Loans."

The Department of Education found the following misrepresentations:

  • During its “Let’s Get to Work” national advertisement campaign, the University of Phoenix misled borrowers about their employment prospects by misrepresenting the nature of Phoenix’s relationships with renowned and high-profile companies, including Microsoft, Adobe, AT&T and the American Red Cross
  • The University of Phoenix represented that its relationship with these companies created unique job opportunities for Phoenix students
  • The school told borrowers that a University of Phoenix degree would help “get your foot in a few thousand doors” and that its corporate partners were “looking specifically at University of Phoenix students for hire instead of any other school"

Idaho's affiliation with the University of Phoenix

The University of Idaho is currently trying to purchase the University of Phoenix, to the tune of $685 million, according to Idaho Education News. Idaho Gov. Brad Little recently defended the proposed purchase on X, formerly known as Twitter, after three senators from out of state wrote a letter to U of I President C. Scott Green, urging him to abandon the purchase.

"We have asked our universities to explore innovative steps toward funding and expanding access to affordable learning opportunities for Idahoans," said Little in the letter. "This deal has the potential to shift many more Idahoans toward rewarding careers, further strengthening our economy, communities and families, especially in rural Idaho."

Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador filed a lawsuit in Juneagainst the Idaho School Board of Education, saying it violated open meeting laws by negotiating and deliberating on the potential purchase behind closed doors.

The University of Idaho has an FAQ posted on its website about the University of Phoenix affiliation. It was last updated on Thursday, Sept. 14 after the three Senators delivered the letter to Green.

Hello, I’m Katie and I’m a social media enthusiast here at Boise State Public Radio.

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