How to Prepare to Have Your Culinary School Student Loans Forgiven


Dear Steve,

Graduated form a Culinary Academy (for profit) School. Started with an interest rate of 13% on 30k. School was eventually sued and lost because of improper promises of industry salaries and students’ lack of technical skills after completing the program.

Now, almost 10 years later I owe 47k and growing. Also 13k on Federal loans, which are in the process of being discharged through the borrowers defense program.

This is a forever loan and I’d rather die or leave the country than forever be a slave to such un justices.

What is the best method to fight this loan off with pride and respect for how far I have come until now?

Is there a way to add up what I have already paid and settle on the remaining balance without the insane interest?

Can I trust consulting companies claiming the debt validation services if it is going to cost me 20k+?

Where can I begin and follow a straight forward path?



Dear David,

Since you already mentioned you are in the process of having your federal student loans dealt with using the Borrower Defense to Repayment program I’m afraid everything is on hold with those loans now.

Under this federal program, your federal student loans would be forgiven and any payments you made would be refunded. However, my biggest worry at this point is that without a well researched application and a solid basis to forgive the loans, many will be in worse shape. See Some Finer Points to Beware of in the Borrower Defense to Repayment Program.

The big issue is what the Department of Education says about dealing with loans using the Borrower Defense program. They say, “Under the law, you may be eligible for a borrower defense to repayment discharge of the federal Direct Loans you took out to attend a school if that school committed fraud by doing something or failing to do something, misrepresented its services, or otherwise violated applicable state law related to your loans or the educational services you paid for.”

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They suck is not a defense. So if you want to have a shot at having your loans forgiven then I would strongly suggest you first talk to a lawyer in your state to draft an explanation for the Department of Education to specifically identify what state laws were violated and how the school specifically committed fraud. With an incomplete application it can take up to a year for an application to be rejected, and while you will not have to pay during the time the Borrower Defense application is being considered, it will cause you balances to get even bigger.

Once you submit your request for consideration under this program you will have to sit tight till they reach a final ruling.

It’s not clear from your question if you also owe on private loans as well. Private loans have no such forgiveness program however there are some cases where a private loan can be dealt with in bankruptcy. See These Private Student Loans Can Be Easily Discharged in Bankruptcy.

In addition, depending on who the private lender is, they will settle if handled correctly. I would suggest you talk to Damon Day and pick his brain about which lender is more likely to settle and what their terms might be. It’s a moving target as policies and procedures change.


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Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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See also  Some Finer Points to Beware of in the Borrower Defense to Repayment Program

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