Student Assistance

How Can OSAR Help Me?

The Office of Student Assistance and Relief (OSAR) provides individualized assistance to California residents selecting a private college, and it counsels California students as they navigate their financial and academic future following the closure or unlawful activities of the private college they attended. OSAR also helps students identify, obtain, complete, and submit financial relief documents.

What Should I Do If My School is Closing or Has Closed?

The Office of Student Assistance and Relief (OSAR) helps students access state and federal relief programs when private colleges in California close or discontinue their educational programs. If you have been affected by the closure of a private college or a program of a private college, it’s important to know that you have rights and options. Here are some general steps you should take in order to take control of your future.

  1. Obtain Student Documents from Your School
    • You have the right to request for a copy of your student documents from your school. Regardless of which option you choose to pursue after the closure of your institution, it’s important to have copies of your student records and documents. You should be able to provide proof that you were a former student of the institution and to show how much you have paid towards your education during your time of enrollment.
      1. Enrollment Agreement
      2. Transcripts
      3. Student Ledger
  2. Request for a Refund from Your School
    • You have the right to request a refund from your school. Once you receive a copy of all of your student documents and records, the next step would be to contact your school to request for a refund of your tuition and all other expenses that you believe you are entitled to. The school may already have an official request form that students could simply fill out or you could request for your refund by writing a letter to the school. If the school does not have an official form and you are required to write a letter to request for your refund, make sure that your name and your contact information, the date of the letter, and your refund request is stated clearly. Keep a copy of your refund request from the school in your personal records.
  3. Apply for an Application for Student Tuition Recovery Fund
    • You have the right to request a reimbursement of your tuition from the Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF). The most prevalent state relief program is called the Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF), which is administered by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. OSAR staff is happy to assist you in finding, understanding and completing the STRF application, in locating your academic or financial records, in identifying and compiling all the documentation necessary to confirm your maximum eligibility for STRF, and in general we are ready to help walk you through this process in a friendly, one-on-one manner. Additionally, OSAR has provided this video tutorial on successfully completing the STRF application, which we hope you will find helpful.
  4. Seek Potential Relief from Federal Agencies If Applicable
    • • Once you have completed and submitted a STRF application to our office, we require that all applicable students seek relief from various federal agencies before we could determine that the student is eligible to receive a reimbursement from the STRF.
    • Federal Student Aid: Closed School Loan Discharge Application
      1. This application exists to help students who were unable to complete their programs due to school closure and utilized federal student loans to fund their education. By receiving a closed school loan discharge, you have no further obligation to repay your student loan, you will receive reimbursement of payments made voluntarily or through forced collection, and the record of the loan and all repayment history associated with the loan, including any adverse history, will be deleted from your credit report.
        1. https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/closed-school
    • Federal Student Aid: Borrower Defense to Loan Repayment Application
      1. This application exists to help students who may have graduated or completed their programs from their institutions but believe that they may be eligible to receive loan forgiveness of their federal student loans. It’s important to know that you still are responsible for repaying your student loans taken out to finance your education at your closed school. However, students—who attended a school and believe they were defrauded or that their school otherwise violated applicable state law—may be eligible for a type of loan forgiveness called “borrower defense to repayment” (or “borrower defense”).
        1. https://borrowerdischarge.ed.gov/s/?language=en_US
    • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Education Benefit Entitlement Restoration Request Due to School Closure or Withdrawal (VA Form 22-0989)
      1. This form exists for former servicemembers of the U.S. Armed Forces who have utilized their U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) educational benefits to fund their education. This form is used to apply for restoration of entitlement for VA education benefits used at a school that closed or had its approval to receive VA benefits withdrawn.
        1. https://www.va.gov/vaforms/form_detail.asp?FormNo=22-0989
  5. Seek Transfer Options
    • You have the right to transfer to another school. If you decide to transfer the credits earned from your closed school to another institution, your subsequent institution may perform a transcript evaluation to determine which credits from your former school are eligible for transfer. In the case that you decide to transfer your credits, you may still be eligible to receive a partial reimbursement of your tuition for the credits that were ineligible for transfer from the STRF. Your reimbursement from the STRF will be prorated based on the value of each credit and the number of credits deemed ineligible for transfer. For more information and assistance in finding a new institution, check out our “Researching Colleges” page listed below or contact us at (888) 370-7589, option #5 to speak with a representative from our office.
      1. https://osar.bppe.ca.gov/researching_colleges.shtml

Although there are many benefits to attending private colleges, students should be aware of the potential risks.

A school closure can be an experience filled with a lot of uncertainty, which can lead to a lot of stress and confusion on what to do next. It is important to know what to do if your school is closing or has closed. Here is a guide and some resources to help you understand your rights and options as a California student:

Frequently Asked Questions

Submit a Complaint

If you would like to file a complaint against a California private college, please submit the complaint to the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.

Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education - Complaint Form

Additional Resources

Please direct any questions for the OSAR to (888) 370-7589, Option #5 or email us at osar@dca.ca.gov.