This website is designed for legal services attorneys and pro bono volunteers who are helping low-income clients to secure federal student debt relief—particularly for debt accrued to attend for-profit schools that may have acted improperly. The website serves two key functions. First, it contains a library of government materials about for-profit schools and DOE practices gathered through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, or through parallel state government disclosure laws. FOIA materials can be an essential part of an effective application to discharge student debt based on the bad acts of a school, and to achieving other relief for clients. It can take a long time to wait for these materials, however, and some advocates may decline to request them for this reason. Others may not obtain the full universe of materials about particular schools, depending on the specificity or time range of their request. This database changes that by allowing advocates to upload and share these materials with one another instantly, and to create a shared library of materials relevant to our work. Second, the website contains training materials for a pro bono student debt project designed to help low-income clients struggling with student debt. The training materials include a sample manual created by Legal Services NYC and a training video.
This website was created by Legal Services NYC and Pro Bono Net, thanks to a grant from the Legal Services Corporation, and with key input from the National Consumer Law Center and the Predatory Student Lending Project of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. We also gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, NCLC, the New Economy Project, who, along with Legal Services NYC, generously shared banks of existing FOIA and other student debt materials to create a foundation for this website's library.