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How Can I Find Out if My School Was Title IV Eligible? – Salma

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Question:

Dear Steve,

I’m looking to file bankruptcy on my Sallie Mae Signature private loans.

How can I find out if my school, Harrington College of Design (Chicago) was qualified for Title IV in Higher Edu. Act in 2005-2007? I’ve called the Dpt. of Edu. but they say can’t go back 10yrs. I’ve called my school but they’re phone is out of business; officially in 2018.

Thank you!

Salma

Answer:

Dear Salma,

You’ve stumped me. I’m not aware of any public listing that goes back that far. You’d have to raise the issue probably in a bankruptcy Adversary Proceeding and see if the guarantor or private loan holder can provide proof the school was Title IV eligible.

But, if you attended the college and received federal student loans at the time, then the school was eligible. If you had private student loans then the Department of Education would not be involved. If the school was participating in private student loans then the lenders may, would, or could have known the school was not Title IV eligible but not cared and disbursed loans anyway.

Some private loan lenders used a non-profit guarantee agency but not all did. And those that did, while they may claim protection from a bankruptcy discharge because of the non-profit guarantee, there are large examples, like National Collegiate Student Loan Trust, where the guarantee agency filed bankruptcy and lost the bankruptcy protection for those private student loans. You should look at these articles for more information.

I would suggest you talk to an attorney who has experience in dealing with such issues. One place to find such an attorney would be here.

I did try to look back at the Harrington website but archives don’t seem to go back as far as you are looking for.

One last suggestion, Harrington is or was accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. They are also registered with the Illinois Board of Higher Education and maybe one of those groups has records dating back that far. Finally, Harrington is a for-profit school that is owned by Career Education Corporation and they might have records to share as well.


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