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Obama-era rule leads to $150M in student loan forgiveness

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during a student town hall at National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has said the loan forgiveness rule is "bad policy" and still aims to replace it, but it could be 2020 before any new rule takes effect. | AP file photo

The U.S. Education Department says it will start forgiving federal loans for 15,000 former students whose colleges closed before they could graduate.

Department officials say the $150 million in loans will automatically be wiped clean, including about $80 million for former students of the defunct Corinthian Colleges for-profit chain, which collapsed in 2015.

The loans are being forgiven under an Obama-era rule that recently took effect after a federal judge ruled that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was unlawfully delaying it.

DeVos has said the rule is “bad policy” and still aims to replace it, but it could be 2020 before any new rule takes effect.

Borrower advocacy groups and some Democrats applauded the loan discharges, but several said it shouldn’t have taken a court order to get relief for students.

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