U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar are asking the U.S. Department of Education to give all students from Globe University and Minnesota School of Business access to student loan relief options after the Woodbury-based schools were cut off from federal funding last week.
The department said the schools no longer will be allowed to participate in federal student aid programs because they were found to have committed fraud involving federal program funds.
A judge had ruled that the schools knowingly misrepresented the nature of the criminal justice program.
The department also faulted the schools for misleading students on the transferability of earned credits to other institutions.
In a letter to department officials, Klobuchar and Franken said that all students who attended the schools when fraud was committed should be able to access student debt relief options, similar to what is now available to students who participated in the schools' criminal justice programs.
In its decision, the department found that, as far back as 2007, the schools made numerous representations about the ability of students to transfer credits. It also found that the fraud occurred in more than just the criminal justice program. It included the health sciences, paralegal, accounting, business and massage therapy programs.
"We applaud the department's commitment to holding institutions accountable for fraudulent actions which are harmful to their students and ask that the department act with similar urgency to ensure debt relief for those students who have been impacted by this fraud," the letter from Klobuchar and Franken said.
Under federal law, the department has the authority to provide relief to students who were defrauded, including forgiving federal student loans.
Until recently, it was limited to providing relief student by student.
The department last year announced a fast-track relief process that is designed to discharge loans to large groups of students, a decision made more important with the high profile shuttering of several for-profit schools,
Franken and Klobuchar's letter asks the department to notify all current and past Globe and MSB students enrolled since 2007 of their eligibility for borrower defense, their rights under these regulations, and all other options that are available to them for relief from their federal loan debt.