Connecticut AG joining 18 others in suing US Education Secretary DeVos

Violet Powell
July 8, 2017

In a separate lawsuit Thursday, Public Citizen and the Project on Predatory Student Lending sued the department over the borrower-defense delay on behalf of two students who attended the for-profit New England Art Institute in MA.

In a separate suit on Thursday, consumer groups Public Citizen and Harvard Law School's Project on Predatory Student Lending also filed a legal challenge to the administration's delay of the regulations.

She also cited pending litigation challenging Borrower Defense Rule regulations as a reason for the delay. Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request from BuzzFeed News, the Education Department revealed that it has not approved a single fraud claim since Donald Trump's inauguration.

The Obama administration's push for increased scrutiny of for-profit colleges came in the wake of the collapse of two of the largest for-profit college chains in the country, Corinthian College and ITT Technical Institute, which left students with billions of dollars of debt, collectively, and no degrees. With Corinthian's breakdown, this system was overwhelmed with over 15,000 loans being wiped away totaling $247 million. The objective of the effort, explained Warren is to challenge the "illegal attempt" of Devos "to protect fly-by-night schools that cheat students and bury them in mountains of debt".

According to the Washington Post, the states' case could be bolstered by a federal appeals court ruling on Monday that struck down the Environmental Protection Agency's suspension of new emissions standards for oil and gas wells.

Summary: Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has blocked a new set of rules governing student loan forgiveness in relation to fraudulent schools from becoming active.

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Politico reports that, through a spokesperson, DeVos has declined to comment while she is reviewing the lawsuit.

Attorney General Maura Healey, who filed the lawsuit in Federal District Court in Washington, attacked the Education Department's delay as a "mere pretext" for repealing and replacing rules that had already been finalized. The new policy would also have voided rules which said students had to go to arbitration over financial disputes instead of suing the school.

The Borrower Defense Rule limits the ability of for-profit colleges from asking students to waive their right to sue in case of school misconduct. "With a rising number of students burdened by college loan debt or in default, this is exactly the wrong time for the Department of Education to abdicate its responsibility to protect students from deceptive practices by these for-profit schools". In June, DeVos announced the department was putting a hold on the regulations as a "regulatory reset" and would hold public hearings on the policies.

The complaint filed by Healey and 18 other Democratic attorneys general asked the court to implement the federal rule and declare the Department of Education's delay notice unlawful. DeVos announced last month that she would suspend enforcement of the regulations and seek to overhaul them through a negotiated rule-making process.

Wanting to keep students from getting loans they could not repay, Obama specifically targeted for-profit, career colleges that promise students they will find jobs after graduating and can charge high tuition. The rule would allow borrowers to have their loans forgiven if a state has successfully taken action against a for-profit school.

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