Former Heald College Students May be Eligible for Loan Debt Relief

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SALIDA-

The U.S. Department of Education is offering debt relief aid for the thousands of former Corinthian College students that found themselves locked out of campus when the for-profit school went bankrupt.

A door that used to hold such promise for thousands of students now holds overdue rent notices after Salida's Heald College closure.

“That’s why I went. I wanted to 'get in, get out, and get ahead.' I wanted to start my career and start it young, and so I was excited,” Monica Alcala, a former Heald student said.

Alcala received her applied science in business management degree from Heald’s Salida campus two weeks before Corinthian Colleges announced its bankruptcy.

Since late April, she and her colleagues have been trying to get answers as to why the school closed its doors.

“At first I didn’t believe it. It’s kind of hard to believe. Especially because my mom and my great-great grandma graduated from there,” Alcala said.

While the owners of Heald have kept quiet, the federal government has offered former students help. Just this week, the U.S. Department of Education announced they’re offering debt relief aid for the 350,000 students who attended Heald, Wyotech and Everest Colleges nationwide.

If a student claims Corinthian committed fraud against them, they can apply for loan forgiveness as long as they were enrolled at the time of closure or had withdrawn within the three months before the college closed down.

“And [Corinthian] told me that my payment was cancelled [via email]. And I wasn't sure, they didn't give me a number to call or anything, so I had no idea who to call,” Alcala said.

For Alcala, it’s not about the money, it’s the pursuit of higher education she feels has been taken away by the bankruptcy.

“A lot of my friends just wanted to complete -- they don’t care about the money, they just want to complete their education and move on,” she said.

The department has estimated that if all Corinthian students apply, it will cost as much as $5.3 billion. More information can be found on studentaid.ed.gov.