Le Cordon Bleu Class Action Lawsuit: What Students Need to Do Next?

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Student loans are one of the problematic issues that have been taken to the US courts in recent years. The universities, colleagues, and the types of organizations used a variety of ways to cheat the students and force them to take the loans for attending. These actions led students to borrow the money, and afterward, they could not handle the debt amount. This article aims to cover the issues regarding one of those fraudulent universities, which are Le Cordon Bleu, and analyze the class action lawsuit against this organization. Let’s start with the recent news regarding the matter.

There are various reasons why so many people are into student loans, such as unemployment, and more. But most importantly, students take the loans to build a better future to pay back the money as they earn.

Those students get victimized by fraudulent actions of the universities and try to find ways to cope with those issues. The programs like student loan forgiveness, student loan consolidation, pay as you earn are intending to help out those students. 

News on the Issue

On the 3rd of January, 2019, the class-action lawsuit against the CEC was finally settled. It is better to remind you that this corporation is the parent company of Le Cordon Bleu According to the class action lawsuit settlement, it was decided that the organization needs to pay $500 million in student loan forgiveness benefits. Those benefits will be distributed to those students that faced unethical actions by various universities that used CEC as a lender for loans of the students. 

One of the major takeaways from this class action lawsuit settlement was about the classified students. It is stated that to get full student loan forgiveness from those universities. The students must have taken the loan from Career Education Corporation. If the students have federal or private student loans from other lenders than CEC, then they would not be able to compensate themselves through this lawsuit settlement. In that case, what can those students who attended the universities mentioned above do? There are two major options that those left off students can utilize. In the following paragraphs, we will talk about those possibilities separately and give you instructions regarding the process.

Two Major Programs for Dealing with Le Cordon Bleu Student Loan Debt

In 2020, there is some good news for students who attended Le Cordon Bleu and have a loan debt amount that they want to eliminate. It is not that hard to do that by completing all the necessary steps. Even though you owe thousands of dollars to the school, that does not necessarily mean that you should pay them. As we already mentioned, the class action lawsuit settlement for Le Cordon Bleu University concludes that only the students who lend money from CEC are eligible for full loan forgiveness. For those of you who are not included in this category, there are two separate options: BDAR and CSLD. 

If you are still suspicious about the case, do not lose your hope because both of these programs can help you to wipe out the debt amount completely. They are real, and certainly, it is not another student loan scam. In this post, we will deliver the right information about the details of both programs. Keep reading for more valuable tips for writing the applications for the loan forgiveness program and to learn who is eligible and if so how can they apply for it. If you are one of the former Le Cordon Students who seek some help, you are in the right place. Before getting into the details, let’s briefly talk about the lawsuit and illegal actions that Le Cordon Bleu took against their students.

Le Cordon Bleu Class Action Lawsuit Details

class action lawsuit

Le Cordon Bleu lawsuit resulted in February of 2018 when the university agreed on terms to repay 44 percent of the student’s tuition fees that paid to them over time. Keep in mind that this does not loan forgiveness or discharge; it is only the result of the settlement. Though the context is related because as the university admitted their fraudulent acts in the past, it paved the path for other former students who suffered the same type of things to use this as an argument and apply for loan forgiveness through BDAR.

As the parent organization, CEC approved all the claims and also admitted about their illegal actions, the case for students became even more favorable. As we talked in previous paragraphs, there are two available programs for former students of this university. However, you need to be aware of the fact that students cannot go for both programs. So, that means, you have to select one and apply only for that loan discharge or repayment program. You will see the differences and understand both programs fully; we are going to discuss them. 

What did Le Cordon Bleu accuse of?

In a class action lawsuit against the university, we can clearly see that there are many aspects that Le Cordon Bleu did wrong to the students. They were accused of:

  • Using high-pressure sales tactic
  • Falsifying job placement data
  • Pretending that they have a high rate of graduation
  • Inflating the graduation rates 

The list goes on and on, and it is clear that Le Cordon Bleu is a fraudulent organization, yet is it enough for you to compensate yourself? When you apply for student loan forgiveness, the main criteria is that you should have faced those criminal actions. Otherwise, even if you attended the university at the time frame when they did those fraudulent things, you would not be classified as a victim. The actions must be against yourself to be eligible. Let’s go through the illegal actions of the Le Cordon Bleu separately.

Falsifying Job Placement Data

In this act, the university misinformed the students and convinced them that after graduation, they would get their dream job and a high salary.

Placing Pressure on Recruiters

Former workers of the university stated that Le Cordon Bleu forced them to meet the high quotas regarding student recruitment. They also argued that the university would fire them unless they met the given numbers. To keep their job, the recruiters used students and employed high-pressure sales tactics so that the students sign up with the university.

Inflating Graduation Rates

The graduation rates are one of the major aspects that students look up to while deciding on which university they need to apply. Le Cordon Bleu falsified this information and spread nonsense like 90 percent of their students graduate with a degree. The percentage was around 29 to 30 at a time. So, this was one of the main reasons why many students apply to the university without knowing the real statistics. 

Presenting that university is very competitive

In reality, Le Cordon Bleu was enrolling the students who were unqualified in the first place. Though, they spread the information that classified the university as one of the top selections in the country.

If any of these aspects are used against you, and you get enrolled as a result of these falsified marketing tactics, take your chance and apply for either BDAR, or Closed School Loan Discharge program.

Discharging the student loans Through BDAR

The Borrower’s Defense against Repayment is a program that helps students who attended the universities, which broke the law in some manner as in Le Cordon Bleu case. Therefore, students of this university had the chance to apply for this program. There are thousands of students who get rid of the loan debt after the university discharged them. So, you have a great chance of getting a discharge through BDAR too. There are several factors that you need to be mindful of. The major factor here is to connect your case to the student lawsuit action of Le Cordon Bleu and apply to the program by providing all the necessary details of the issue. If done correctly, the BDAR applications are great solutions for these types of issues. Besides the complete loan forgiveness, students can get a refund, too, in specific cases. So, how can you write your BDAR application?

What do you need to include in your BDAR Application?

The most important thing that the Department of Education looks at while analyzing the applications is the decision-making process of the student. You, as a student, should clearly display the reasons such as

  • Why you attended Le Cordon Bleu?
  • How their fraudulent marketing tactics affected you in making the enrollment decision?

If you cannot prove that you only took the loan for attending the university and come to that conclusion because of the fraudulent actions of the Le Cordon Bleu, unfortunately, you will not get approval from DOE regarding the BDAR.

Be Specific

You need to specifically point out how their lies convinced you and show proof for your arguments. The evidence can consist of a screenshot of chats, emails between you and the university recruiter, phone calls, bills, etc. Remember that this university was found guilty on many aspects during the lawsuit settlement. Therefore, it is another plus for those students who aim to cover their debt amount by applying for BDAR. The university admitted most of the illegal actions; it is now your turn to prove that you directly get affected by those actions.

As we already mentioned, the results of the BDAR application are personal. That means, two students who attended at the same time may not necessarily be eligible for the program. If you have specific details about your case and have documents that you can use as evidence against Le Cordon Bleu, then you need to choose BDAR as your primary option for acquiring loan forgiveness.

Where can you file a BDAR application?

The only legitimate place where the student needs to file his/her BDAR application is the US federal government official website regarding the matter. Rather than that, you should not file your documents anywhere else. You will see the organizations, lawyers who claim that they are working with the government on solving the issues like this. Though, never believe those people. Keep in mind that, there are thousands of student loan scammers around the US and be careful about them. 

How to check whether or not your application is approved? 

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Just like the class action lawsuit, the result of the application may take more time than you expected. For some lucky students, the process takes several weeks, while on the other hand, there are thousands of students who are desperately waiting for approval for like 6 to 12 months. There are many applications regarding the matter. That is why, DOE does not have the capability to solve all of them in several months. 

You need to wait for your turn and hope that the results will be positive. The time when you apply for the program is crucial. You need to write your BDAR application as soon as possible because of the reason that Betsy DeVos does not think positively about the program. So, there is another possibility that the program may stop sooner or later. To be on the safe side, try to apply as soon as you can. 

CSLD

If you are not on the side of students that are defrauded by the Le Cordon Bleu, do not worry because you have other options for compensating yourself. That option is the Closed School Loan Discharge. This program has specific requirements, and to be eligible, you need to

  • Attend the school while it was closed
  • Graduate from school prior to 120 days to the closing

If one of these two conditions is met, you will be eligible to apply to this program. 

Who cannot be eligible?

The students who transferred their credits to another university while Le Cordon Bleu is getting closed cannot be eligible for the advantages of the CSLD program. Class action lawsuit showed us some of the glimpses regarding the fraudulent actions that the university took. However, not only those students are the victims of the Le Cordon Bleu. Those students who left the university because of its closing can be a great example of the second segment. Both groups of students need to seek their rights and try to eliminate federal student loan debt. We explained the BDAR application Process, but what about the closed school discharge?

How to apply for CSLD?

In case if you are not classified for BDAR by using the reasons that are mentioned in the class-action lawsuit, you can utilize the closed school discharge program. The official site of student aid has the application form for this program. You can easily download and fill the document. The guidelines will be sent after you submit the documents. You need to follow the instructions of the loan servicer so that officials can approve your application.

Class Action Lawsuit Timeline and how University Decided to Close its Branches

The class action lawsuit was one of the many incidents where officials and students accused the university of fraudulent actions. The students who participated in the university from 2006 to March 2010 are the main segment of people whom this lawsuit can be applied to. Although things went differently on this one, it was not the first time where Le Cordon Bleu faced a lawsuit. In 2011, a similar class-action lawsuit was held against Le Cordon Bleu and its parent organization – CEC.

As a result of that class action lawsuit, the company agreed to pay 40 million dollars for the illegitimate advertising methods that they used to attract the students for California Culinary Academy. (Another Branch of this University). In 2015 the case became even worse as LCB decided to shut down all the culinary schools in the US. In 2016, all the schools got closed and the students left off with their thousands of loan debt, 

Final Thoughts

Overall, for those students who cannot deal with their student loan debts, this is a great opportunity that can help them to wipe out the amount. That is why, if you were a former student of Le Cordon Bleu who has student loan debt, keep an eye on the recent news and follow the updates on this class action lawsuit.