Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

How to apply for borrower defense to repayment

This forgiveness program cancels your debt if your school broke the law.

If your school misled you or left out important information about your student loans, you might be eligible for full or partial forgiveness of your federal student debt. This is particularly popular with for-profit universities that receive federal funds. But you only qualify if your school violates state laws related to student aid.

What is borrower defense to repayment?

Borrower defense to repayment is a type of federal student loan discharge for students who attended a school that broke state laws related to how federal student loans were provided. Qualified students can have all or part of their federal loans forgiven, depending on the circumstances. Some might also receive a reimbursement for repayments they’ve already made.

Eligibility requirements for borrower defense to repayment

Borrower defense to repayment is only available on federal student loans — and only in cases where your school’s misconduct related to your student loans.

You can apply for forgiveness for loans issued by multiple schools, as long as they all are guilty of misconduct. And applying for borrower defense to repayment means you can still be eligible for other types of forgiveness, including closed school student loan discharge.

What counts at misconduct?

A school is guilty of misconduct if it violates sate laws related to consumer protections or eduction. It’s also guilty if it mislead you about the program you attended or your loans.

Let’s take a look at an example. Several former Kaplan College students who attended two of its Texas campuses back in 2015 are eligible for borrower defense to repayment. Why? Because they received federal loans for courses taught by unqualified instructors, according to Texas state law.

Not all legal violations count toward borrower defense to repayment. If you have another type of legal claim against the university — say you were harassed or injured on campus — this type of discharge is unavailable to you.

How do I apply for borrower defense student loan discharge?

You can apply for borrower defense student loan discharge by filling out an online application or downloading and completing a PDF.

Applying online

The borrower defense to repayment online application is available on the Federal Student Aid (FSA) website. The FSA recommends you log in with your FSA ID, though it’s possible to apply without one — it just takes longer to process.

Applying with a PDF

You can download and fill out a PDF either by hand or on your computer. The borrower defense to repayment PDF application is available through the FSA website. Once you’ve finished it, you can send it by:

  • Email. Send a scanned copy of your signed application and any additional documents to
  • Mail. Send a paper copy along with additional documents to:

US Dept. of Education — Borrower Defense to Repayment
PO Box 1854
Monticello, KY 42633

How to fill out the application for borrower defense to repayment?

Follow these steps to complete the application for borrower defense to repayment. Keep in mind they might vary depending on if you apply online or through a PDF.

What documents do I need to provide?

While you aren’t required to provide any documents, doing so can strengthen your case and speed up your application. You might want to include:

  • Transcripts
  • Enrollment agreements
  • Registration documents
  • Promotional materials
  • Emails between you and school officials
  • Course catalogs
  • Course manuals

My student loan discharge was approved. Now what?

It depends on how much you get approved for. If you’re approved to have all of your loans discharged, you won’t have to make any more repayments. If your loans are partially discharged, you’ll continue paying off your student loans, but have a reduced balance.

What can I do if my student loan discharge was denied?

If your application was denied, you’ll be responsible for paying off your student loans. If you opted for forbearance, the interest that accumulated while your application was being processed gets added to your loan balance.

Defaulted student loans will also go back into collections. This means the government will start withholding your tax refunds and potentially garnishing your wages until your loans are paid off.

If you believe your application was denied by mistake, reach out to your loan servicer for more details.

Alternatives to borrower defense to repayment

Borrower defense to repayment is only one student loan discharge option out there. You also might want to consider:

  • Closed school student loan discharge. If your school closed while you were enrolled or recently after you withdrew, you could be eligible for a full discharge of your student loans.
  • Federal and state forgiveness. Both individual states and the federal government have forgiveness programs you can apply to. Most are based on your career and require a service commitment.
  • Employer-based forgiveness. Many companies have started offering student loan forgiveness as an employee benefit.

Compare student loan refinancing options

Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing (Variable Rate)
1.88% to 5.54%
$5,000 - $300,000
5 to 20 years
Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.
Credible Student Loan Refinancing
1.90% to 8.90%
Good to excellent credit
Starting at $5,000
5 to 20 years
Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (with Autopay)
2.25% to 6.43%
Starting at $5,000
5 to 20 years
A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing
1.89% to 6.66%
Starting at $7,500
5 to 25 years
Save on your student loans with this market-leading newcomer.
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinancing
2.39% to 6.01%
Starting at $15,000
5 to 20 years
Lower your student debt costs with manageable payments, affordable rates and flexible terms.
Earnest Student Loan Refinancing
1.88% to 5.64% APR with autopay
$5,000 - $500,000
5 to 20 years
Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

You could have all or part of your loans forgiven if your school violated state laws related to student loans. Providing documents and applying online using your FSA ID is the quickest way to get approved.

Don’t qualify? Check out over 10 other ways to get your student loans forgiven.

Frequently asked questions

Learn more about how to apply for borrower defense to repayment with these answers to common questions.

Image source: Getty Images

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site