Durbin, Duckworth, Bustos push DeVos, Illinois community colleges to help Midstate students

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-17) are urging the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to assist the students affected by Midstate College’s unexpected closing.

The leaders sent a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and pressed ED to provide students information about eligibility and applying for closed school discharges, which is required by law.

“Under the Higher Education Act, student loan borrowers who are enrolled at the time of a school’s closure or who withdraw within 120 days of closure are entitled to have their federal student loan debt discharged,” members wrote on Monday. “The Department must ensure that Midstate is complying with federal regulations to provide all enrolled students with a closed school discharge application and written disclosure describing the benefits and consequences of a closed school discharge as an alternative to completing their educational program through a teach-out agreement.”

An estimated 183 students are impacted by the closure.

Durbin, Duckworth and Bustos also sent a letter to Illinois community college presidents urging them to work with the Higher Learning Commission, the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), and ED to ensure students are aware of their options to restart or continue their education at affordable institutions like community colleges.

“It would only be adding insult to injury to allow these Midstate students to be pushed into the open arms of another for-profit college, especially one that is being investigated or sued by state or federal agencies,” they said.

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