If You Went to University of Phoenix, You May Be Eligible for Loan Forgiveness

A University of Phoenix billboard is shown against mountains in the background.
A University of Phoenix billboard is shown in Chandler, Ariz. Matt York/AP Photo

If you used federal student loans to pay for your education at the University of Phoenix a few years ago, you may be eligible for full loan forgiveness.

On Sept. 20, the U.S. Department of Education announced that some federal student loans provided to attendees at the University of Phoenix will be discharged as a result of an investigation into the for-profit university’s improper student recruitment advertisements.

Eligible federal student loans for UOPX enrollees from Sept. 21, 2012 to Dec. 31, 2014 will be discharged, with as much as $37 million in loans forgiven.

It is estimated that 1,200 students are eligible for student loan relief.

Why Are Some University of Phoenix Students Getting Loan Relief?

According to the DOE investigation, UOPX suggested its partnerships with renowned companies such as AT&T, Adobe and Microsoft could provide preferred hiring opportunities for UOPX students. No such preferences were actually available.

In 2019, UOPX was fined $191 million to settle claims for similar deceptive advertising and recruitment practices.

How Do I Find Out If I Qualify for University of Phoenix Student Loan Forgiveness?

In order to be considered for student loan forgiveness under this ruling, you must file a borrower defense application. Studentaid.gov offers instructions on how to file the strongest possible borrower defense application, including details on paperwork you must provide.

If you submitted a borrower defense application during the COVID-19 pandemic to halt your loans, you are already under consideration for this forbearance action.

If your application is approved, you will receive notification via email. The earliest such notifications will be sent out is early October. You can keep an eye on your application status at Stuidentaid.gov’s “Manage My Application” page.

And if your loan is approved for forgiveness, it will remain in forbearance/stopped collections status, where it has been since student loans were placed on hold in March of 2020.

The hold on all federal student loan payments has ended, and monthly payments are scheduled to begin in October.

Kent McDill is a veteran journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.