Borrower Defense

The Borrower Defense rule is a federal regulation establishing that student loan borrowers may be eligible for forgiveness of the federal student loans used to attend a school, if that school misled them or engaged in other illegal conduct.

FOIA Requests


Borrower Defense Memoranda Referenced in Inspector General Report - April 18, 2018

Seeking: Memoranda referenced in the Office of Inspector General’s December 8, 2017 report “Federal Student Aid’s Borrower Defense to Repayment Loan Discharge Process.”


The Department has not yet provided documents in response to this request.


 Collection Proceeding Status of Borrower Defense Applicants - September 11, 2018

Seeking: For each of the borrower defense claims received by ED prior to 2015, documents sufficient to show whether the borrower submitting the application was in a collection proceeding at the time the application was submitted.


On February 25, 2021, the Department provided a Final Response to this request. The responsive documents are available here.


Data Requested and Provided During the 2017-2018 Borrower Defense and Gainful Employment Negotiated Rulemaking Sessions - September 13, 2018 

Seeking: Copies of all the data/information requests submitted by members of the 2017-2018 Borrower Defense and Gainful Employment negotiated rulemaking committees and the Department’s responses to such data/information requests. 


On September 13, 2018 the Department provided a Final Response. Those documents are available here.


Communications Regarding Borrower Defense and Gainful Employment NPRMs - October 1, 2018

Seeking: Communications between the U.S. Department of Education and non-governmental third parties about the 2018 Borrower Defense negotiated rulemaking. This includes any invitations to meet with outside parties to discuss proposed rules and confirmation of any meetings that occured.

On March 2, 2021 the Department provided a Final Response to this request. The responsive documents are available here and here


Borrower Defense Data and Reports at the Institutional Level - January 21, 2022

Seeking: In January, March, and April 2022, Student Defense submitted multiple FOIA requests for documents regarding the number of Borrower Defense claims filed, granted, and denied, broken down by institution, for the following time periods:

The Department initially failed to produce any documents, as required by law. After Student Defense sued the Department in federal court, the Department provided a final response letter and a set of responsive documents. Those documents are available here