The US Department of Education announced a $ 16 million federal student loan for Illinois borrowers who attended Westwood College’s criminal justice programs. The department’s decision was based on evidence provided by Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office, which confirmed that Westwood misrepresented students’ ability to become police officers in Illinois and transfer loans to other schools. Almost 500 borrowers from Illinois will receive about $ 16 million in loan repayments, according to evidence provided by Raoul’s office. At the national level, an investigation by the attorney general helped the department settle more than 1,600 claims, resulting in an estimated $ 53 million in loan disbursements.
In 2012, the attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit against Westwood, alleging that the college distorted the ability of Westwood’s criminal justice system alumni to become police officers in Illinois, and also misrepresented the ability of students to transfer Westwood’s loans to other schools. The lawsuit also alleged that Westwood issued private student loans in order to maintain the Department of Education’s approval for federal student loans, despite the fact that they knew the students could not pay them back. After three years of litigation, the school closed its doors nationally and wrote off more than $ 15 million in private student loans as part of a settlement with the Illinois attorney general. Student Borrowers who have questions or need assistance can call the Attorney General’s Student Loan Hotline at 1-800-455-2456.