BDR: The Liberals’ Backdoor to “Free College”

The Borrower Defense to Repayment rule (BDR), a once benign, precautionary regulation, has been weaponized against proprietary colleges, but if this rule were applied evenly across all types of universities, one would expect greater student debt relief from individuals dissatisfied with their education.

We know this because a recent survey found that most public- and private-college students are unfamiliar with the BDR—even though many believe they were misled.

What Is Borrower Defense?

According to US News and World Report, “The borrower defense to loan repayment (BDR) forgiveness rule is a federal regulation issued by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) that allows federal direct student loan borrowers who were defrauded by a college, university or career school to seek forgiveness of those loans.”

Since the BDR rule was established in 1994, a student was required to have or state a cause of action. In 2015, the rule changed so that students were required only to show substantial misrepresentation, such as conversations with admissions officers. Further changes have recently ensued: A self-reporting process was established in 2018. Again, the USDOE is expected to further relax standards to allow for more loan forgiveness.

Since 2017, six schools have been approved for BDR claims. In addition, in 2021, the USDOE has approved nearly 92,000 borrower claims with a valuation of over $1.5 billion. During this period, at least 69 public or private nonprofit colleges have closed or announced plans to close since 2016 – though none of these students have been approved for repayment.

Presently the USDOE advises students to apply whose schools have “misled you or engaged in other misconduct” or broke a state law. Qualifying borrowers must complete a 30-minute application. You can find more information and instructions at the US Department of Education’s website:

Misled by Higher Ed: Student Loan Stories

The Biden Administration is selectively promoting Borrower Defense to Repayment (“BDR”) loan forgiveness at career colleges and continues to look the other way as traditional schools advertise 98% placement rates that often include volunteer work. 

Read these student loan stories so see why loan forgiveness can’t just look the other way. CASE believes that the federal government should apply BDR equally across all types of colleges.

Have you felt misled by your school?

Your tuition could be reimbursed!

Take this 60 second survey to find out if you qualify.

Borrower Defense to Repayment (BDR) Survey

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