18 states, DC file suit against Education Dept. for delaying student loan protections

Attorneys general from 18 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit in federal court on Thursday, claiming Education Secretary Betsy DeVos violated the law for her department’s decision to delay the Obama-era Borrower Defense Rule.

In addition to 19 Democratic attorneys suing the department, Public Citizen and Harvard Law School’s Project on Predatory Student Lending sued the administration on behalf of two students allegedly defrauded by the for-profit Education Management Corporation.

“(DeVos’) decision to cancel vital protections for students and taxpayers is a betrayal of her office’s responsibility and a violation of federal law. We call on Secretary DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education to restore these rules immediately,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in press release Thursday.

The lawsuit demands the administration immediately reverse DeVos’ decision.

Referring to it as a “regulatory re-set, “DeVos postponed the rule from going into effect on July 1, citing cost to taxpayers and the need to provide “clear, fair and balanced” rules for universities to follow.

Under the Obama-era rule, student loan borrowers found to have been defrauded by for-profit colleges through illegal or deceptive practices to borrow and enroll had their federal student loans forgiven.

The Obama administration instituted the rule in 2016 following the collapse of two for-profit education companies, ITT Tech and Corinthian Colleges.

In a June 14 decision, DeVos assured over 16,000 claimants the department would continue to process applications despite the rule’s postponement.

Describing the Obama-era rule as “heavily politicized,” Department of Education spokeswoman Liz Smith dismissed the lawsuit as ” ideologically driven.”

 

[Reuters] [NPR] [Photo courtesy Getty Images via NPR]