On March 31, a judge approved a $25 million settlement in the class-action lawsuit against President Trump and Trump University.
For thousands of students, this settlement offers much-needed relief. Find out the details of the Trump University settlement and what you can do if you attended Trump University.
What is Trump University?
The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, or Trump University, was a learning course headed by Donald Trump. The initiative offered classes in real estate investing, wealth creation, management, and entrepreneurship. Instructors taught the curriculum with a mix of live lectures, online classes, and home study materials.
However, Trump University was not an accredited school. It didn’t offer any degrees, college credits, or certifications. Trump’s team designed the school to help would-be entrepreneurs gain insight into how to launch their own businesses.
In New York, the state cited the school for violating its education laws. Trump’s team called the program a university, even though it did not offer degrees. Students paid up to $35,000 to enroll and get access to Trump University instructors.
Trump University lawsuit
The lawsuit against Trump University has gone on for about seven years. Former students claimed that representatives misled them about the course’s effectiveness and outcomes. The school faced two class action lawsuits and one civil suit over the issue.
Trump defended the school vehemently. Trump and representatives from the school say that their claims were truthful and that they offered a valuable program. During his campaign, Trump denied any wrongdoing and said he would not settle the suits. But after becoming President, he said he did not have the time for a trial.
Trump University settlement details
The settlement impacts approximately 6,000 students. It includes a $1 million penalty paid to the state of New York for violating education laws.
U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel oversaw the case. According to him, former students will get at least 80 percent of the money they spent to enroll back through the settlement.
“The amount offered in settlement provides significant and immediate recovery,” Curiel wrote in court documents.
Over half of the school’s former students submitted claims to be part of the Trump University lawsuit. That is a high rate for a class action suit. But experts suggest there is so much participation because of the high level of media attention the case received.
The court appointed the Better Business Bureau to administer the settlement fund. They have already verified 2,471 claims requesting $21.3 million in refunds. They expect hundreds more to complete the process.
Am I eligible for a portion of the settlement?
If you’re eligible to be part of the settlement, you would have received notices of the lawsuit. These notices gave you the option to object, opt out, or participate in the class action lawsuit. In total, 13 people opted out of the Trump University lawsuit, declining to receive any money from the settlement.
To be eligible for a portion of the settlement, former students had to submit a claim form by March 6, 2017. If you missed the deadline, you can’t receive a refund.
What if I missed the deadline?
If you missed the deadline, you’re ineligible to be part of the settlement, but you do have a few options. If you still have credit card debt or personal loans from your experience with Trump University, there are ways to ease the burden.
One option is to do a balance transfer to a low-interest card or personal loan. A lower interest rate can help you save money and pay back the debt faster. Alternatively, you can consolidate your debt to take advantage of better interest rates and repayment terms.
Implications of for-profit schools and programs
The Trump University lawsuit is just the latest example of a for-profit school or program facing scrutiny. Organizations such as the Better Business Bureau are investigating courses that have no accreditation but claim to offer valuable information — like Trump University. This is in an effort to protect students from spending money unnecessarily.
For more information on the dangers of for-profit programs, check out five reasons you should avoid for-profit schools at all costs.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.23% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
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|2.47% – 6.23%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
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|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|