SACRAMENTO – As students struggle with the aftermath of for-profit educational institutions that have closed or violated the law, the California Department of Consumer Affairs has established the Office of Student Assistance and Relief, as mandated by Senate Bill 1192, to help students navigate their uncertain academic and financial future.
“OSAR’s goal is to provide individualized assistance to students to relieve or mitigate the economic and educational opportunity loss incurred by those students who attended a Corinthian Colleges institution or other eligible for-profit institution,” Scott Valverde, chief of the Office of Student Assistance and Relief, said.
OSAR helps students identify and obtain necessary documents, complete and submit applications, determine eligibility for repayment from the Student Tuition Recovery Fund, apply for debt relief from the United States Department of Education and access other student assistance programs.
OSAR will also proactively engage with students through outreach efforts by providing information to make informed decisions when selecting postsecondary educational institutions. It will also share information to help students know their rights when attending these schools.
The new office will also work in consultation with various state and federal agencies including the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, California Student Aid Commission, California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Education and the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
OSAR’s mission is to serve as the primary point of contact for advancing and protecting students’ rights, advocating on behalf of students, informing students through outreach and providing equitable relief to students who suffer economic loss as a result of the unlawful activities or closure of a California private postsecondary educational institution.
The Department of Consumer Affairs promotes and protects the interests of California consumers while ensuring a competent and fair marketplace. The department also protects licensed professionals from unfair competition by unlicensed practitioners. Consumers can file complaints against licensees by contacting DCA at (800) 952-5210. Consumers can also file a complaint online at www.dca.ca.gov.