In order to qualify as a recipient of federal student aid funding, a school must verify is that its students meet certain basic qualifications. If a school fails to do this, it may mean that you are eligible to have your relevant student loans discharged as they were issued to you under false pretenses.
There are three primary categories of false certification:
- Ability to Benefit: In order to benefit from a college-level education, you must have achieved certain levels of academic accomplishment. Typically, this is proven via a high school diploma or G.E.D. If you do not have either of these, schools will typically administer exams to ensure that you have the ability to benefit from your education and therefore from your federal loan. Failure to do so, or serious problems with the exam (such as how it was administered or the type of exam used) can result in a case for loan discharge.
- Disqualifying Status: Some occupations have specific qualifications, either a particular physical or mental condition, age, criminal record status, etc. If a school accepts you for a career-specific training program without verifying that you are eligible to pursue that career, you may be eligible to have your loan(s) discharged.
- Unauthorized Signature: This is sometimes also known as a "forgery discharge." If a school accepts a student loan on your behalf without your signature, either by forging your name on your loan documents or on the disbursement itself, you may be eligible to have your loan(s) discharged. In order to qualify, you must not have received the proceeds of the loan.
Additionally, if you are the victim of identity theft, you may also qualify for a false certification discharge.