Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos kicked the can down the road again on regulations designed to protect collect students from predatory loans from for-profit colleges. Rather than implementing or altering Obama-era tweaks to the legislation that would have made the decades-old rule even more accessible for students, the Department of Education instead declared that it can’t sort this out until July of 2019 — right when candidates will start throwing their hats in for 2020 nominations. Meanwhile, the Trump administration says this will save taxpayers money and won’t affect students making a claim against predatory lenders.
People are riled up. Not only are 18 states suing DeVos over the delays, the latest setback has senators and attorney generals accusing her of illegal thumb-twiddling. One of them is Senator Patty Murray, who said, “Instead of giving predatory corporations the green light to continue to take advantage of students, Secretary DeVos needs to stop these outrageous delays and start providing relief to the tens of thousands of students who have been cheated out of their education and savings.”
That’s a reference to for-profit outfits run by organizations like ITT Tech and Corinthian Colleges (and, for that matter, Trump University) that have been accused of fraud for years. Obama was motivated to simplify the process by which students can make a case against these organizations and others like them, precisely because it can be so hard for students to fight back against the institutions. Massachusetts AG Maura Healey agrees and said her office is going to fight back against the DOE’s decision:
“This is another illegal delay by Secretary DeVos to allow predatory for-profit colleges to cheat students and taxpayers . Our office will fight these unlawful attempts by the Department of Education to abuse vulnerable students and families who are drowning in unaffordable debt.”
The DOE claims that it’s hamstrung by legislative timelines tied to the fiscal calendar of loan cycles. Meanwhile, 87,000 claims have piled up, although at least 10,000 are fairly clear cut cases that should have the green light, according to sources who spoke with the Washington Post. Yet for some reason, DeVos is dragging her feet. In the meantime, students and graduates will be dragging their debt behind them with little to show for it.
(Via the Washington Post)