Many applicants have waited months or years for an answer on their applications while they remain on the hook for thousands of dollars in student debt. Since the Trump administration arrived, gradual work on those claims has appeared to slow to a complete halt. And an unfortunate aspect of the rule delay, advocates said, is that it will block a provision that would ban institutions from enforcing mandatory arbitration clauses. That means students who haven’t gotten relief from the department can’t seek help from the courts, either. The Obama administration crafted the borrower-defense rule after the collapse of Corinthian Colleges in 2015 to clarify how to handle a flood of claims under the little-used previous version of the borrower statute. In its most recent update, the department said in January that it had approved borrower-defense claims for more than 28,000 Corinthian students. But few details have been forthcoming since. Toby Merrill, director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard University's law school, said the department still has the tools it needs to process those claims even after delaying the new rule. “The department’s processing of all borrower defenses has essentially stopped,” she said. “While that’s not an acceptable state of affairs, that’s the state of affairs they’re facing.” And by blocking the arbitration provision as part of the rule delay, Merrill said the department has prevented students from pursuing another avenue to have their loans discharged absent action online teaching positions nursing from the administration.
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