But anyone at the federal agency, and some of its contractors, could have accessed the personally identifiable information through a shared folder before it was secured on Friday, putting thousands of people’s personal information at risk, according to internal documents obtained by The Washington Post.

The information came from applications for student debt relief submitted by borrowers who say they were defrauded by their colleges. A 1995 law, known as “borrower defense to repayment,” provides federal loan forgiveness to students whose colleges lied to get them to enroll.

For the better part of five years, the Education Department has been inundated with claims from former students of defunct for-profit chains Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institutes, which have been sued for

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