Everest College was part of the Santa Ana based Corinthian Schools Inc., which had been processing loan relief claims after losing a lawsuit claiming its students were scammed. The state attorney general’s office last week filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education to compel federal officials to process those claims (file photo)

The state attorney general’s office last week filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education to compel federal officials to process loan relief to students scammed by now-defunct Santa Ana-based Corinthian Schools Inc. 

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has ceased processing claims from students of the for-profit schools. Claims were being processed by the prior administration after a settlement last year. 

“What Secretary DeVos is doing is unconscionable,” Becerra said. “After having their American dreams stolen by a so-called higher education institution, Corinthian students are now being denied critical relief by a secretary of education hostile to their plight. 

“It is hard to believe that we are forced to sue the Department of Education to compel Secretary DeVos to carry out the department’s legal duty and help these students rebuild their lives,” he said. “We will work to ensure that all who seek a college degree can do so without worrying about unscruputlous for-profit purveyors of a sham college education.” 

The company once had 107 campuses throughout the country, but they were shut down when Corinthian declared bankruptcy in My 2015 following investigations that found the company had intentionally targeted low-income, vulnerable people through deceptive and false advertising. 

Last year, the attorney general’s office won a judgment of more than $1.1 million against the for-profit operator. 

The federal lawsuit filed Thursday in California mirrors others filed by attorneys general in Massachusetts, Illinois and New York. 

Becerra reported that more than 50,000 claims submitted by Corinthian students are pending before federal officials. Of those, 13,000 were filed by Californians. 

Prior to the Trump administration, the federal government granted relief to 28,000 students, Becerra said.