Education News

House rebukes DeVos plan to protect predatory for-profit colleges

By Mary Ellen Flannery

Betsy DeVos’ attempts to protect predatory for-profit colleges that have defrauded students—and to sabotage students’ ability to get debt relief from the federal government—hit a major roadblock in the U.S. House on Thursday.

By a 231 to 180 vote, the House passed a resolution to block DeVos’ efforts to gut protections for student borrowers and taxpayers in the nearly 30-year-old “borrower defense rule.”

“By passing this resolution, the House made clear that we care more about defending defrauded students than enriching predatory schools,” said U.S. Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV). “We told Betsy DeVos that we’re not going to sit on the sidelines while these institutions scam our families, our friends, our neighbors, and our veterans while they’re trying to get an education.”

The borrower defense rule dates to 1992, when Congress reauthorized the Higher Education Act. It was strengthened during the Obama administration after the abrupt collapse of the massive, for-profit Corinthian College chain in 2014, which left tens of thousands of students holding mountains of debt and worthless degrees, or no degree at all.

Essentially, “borrower defense” allows those students with federal student loans to seek federal loan forgiveness when their colleges engage in fraudulent practices. With her rewrite of the rule, DeVos would make it more difficult for students to get relief. For example, the rule would no longer provide for automatic debt relief when colleges abruptly close.

NEA strongly supports the existing protections, and has gone on record in fierce opposition to DeVos’ revisions. “Rather than safeguarding students, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is choosing to weaken the borrower defense rule and protect unscrupulous colleges,” wrote Marc Egan, director of NEA government relations, in a letter to Congress earlier this week.

Egan also pointed out that “The DeVos rule is especially cruel considering that those who are most vulnerable to targeting by these predatory institutions include veterans, older students, students of color, disabled students, and students who are the first in their families to attend college.”

With passage in the House, the resolution moves to the Senate where “Senators will now have a chance to go on the record,” said Dick Durbin (D-IL), in introducing the resolution (S.J. Res. 56). “Are you with the students or the predatory industry that defrauded them with worthless degrees and a lifetime of debt?”

Since her appointment, DeVos consistently has promoted a pro-privatization agenda that elevates the interests of for-profit institutions over students. Recently, a federal judge held her in civil contempt, and fined ED $100,000, because it has persisted in collecting on the student loans taken by 16,000 former Corinthian students—going so far as to garnish the wages of 1,800 people—in direct violation of the judge’s orders to stop.

Earlier this week, the attorneys general of 19 states, plus the District of Columbia, also wrote to Congress, saying the DeVos revisions would “be disastrous for students while providing a windfall to abusive schools.”



32 responses to “House rebukes DeVos plan to protect predatory for-profit colleges

  1. I’m glad there was bipartisan agreement in the House and Senate to stop these DeVos rules from taking effect amidst this very polarized political backdrop. Whatever Mrs. DeVos’ intentions for public students might have been before being “buying” this cabinet position, her policies continuously place the interests of For-Profit colleges, charter schools, voucher private education and loan collection above those of the public school student.
    What kind of educational future does she envision for the of the bulk of America’s young people?

  2. Why is someone who never went to public schools, never taught or worked within administration and has zero experience that is applicable to running educational programs and facilities in charge of the nation’s education programs? She has repeatedly demonstrated hostility to the institutions, students and the people who work within them, yet she is supposed to be entrusted to the improvement of the public education system of the United States. As a retired teacher, I would like to see the data that demonstrates Ms. Devos’s growth within her position and supports why she should continue to hold her current job.

  3. DeVos is long tied to trump. She seeks to increase income daily. She and her husband Dick, billionaires, moved into their new 22,000 ft. Holland MI summer home just last year. Her $40,000 yacht was vandalized, was she angry. Oh yeah, her hubby is the Amway heir. Her brother is Erik Prince, billionaire and the shady founder of Blackwater Security, renamed XE, now named Academi and working out of Iraq. Do not forget his employees killed 14 Iraqi civilians and injured 20 more in Baghdad 2007. He is a friend of IDJiT and sought to have a back door opened for trump with the United Arab Emirates 9 days prior to his inauguration. Mueller. She has absolutely no thought of the students. Just tearing down the walls between her and the money… charter schools in MI on her. Get her out of this position. Unfit to serve.

  4. Public education was supposed to be the great equalizer in the land of opportunity. A K-12 education is insufficient for preparing for today’s job market. Post secondary education should not create an albatross of debt among students that prevents them from having homes and families. It’s time to create another system of funding college. No more student debt!

  5. Wayne Warren: if you believe stories of squandered student loans, you obviously have ZERO first hand experience. The choices of Non-traditional students are limited by geography and personal circumstance such as job or family obligations. Students who strive to improve their workplace productivity and job options should be confident that their educational options are good quality and legitimate! These for profit institutions are PREDATORY. They lie to their applicants to suck off student loan funds, then leave the students high and dry!

  6. Betsy DeVos only cares about Betsy DeVos. She is not a friend of public education and does not care about students. She’s a friend of Trump’s and that’s the only reason she got the position she’s in.

  7. The vote that was recently taken and supported and passed in the House by a 231 to 180 vote, in the House is a resolution to block DeVos’ efforts to gut protections for student borrowers and taxpayers in the nearly 30-year-old “borrower defense rule.”

    By passing this resolution, the House made clear that we care more about defending defrauded students than enriching predatory schools. This is about protecting students from predatory institutions. Many students have few options for furthering their education and sign those loans in good faith. It is unfair when they are taken advantage of by corrupt predatory institutions, providing them with worthless degrees and saddling with a lifetime of debt. And then being supported and protected by Betsy DeVos and her proposed revisions while not doing her job.

    Thank you NEA and the members of the House who have spoken out in support of our students. Thank you also for the members of the 19 states and the District of Columbia for their letter of condemnation of the DeVos proposal and the support of the many students.

  8. Any response prefaced by “I’ve heard of . . . “, is not based on fact. I truly doubt if students are spending student loan funds on extravagences; rather, they are attempting to find ways to pay for the ever-increasing costs of higher education. Betsy DeVos will never understand the struggles of students who are not born into wealth and privilege. A well-educated society is to the benefit of everyone, and plans such as hers will only curtail movement towards an educated and innovative population.

  9. I totally agree: The socialist House is wrong. The student & student family is responsible to choose the schools they attend. It is not the tax payers (Government)responsibility to pay off the loan.

    If they want their student loan forgiven, pay it off, like responsible people should.

    The government is not responsible for their mistakes. Ms DeVos is doing a wonderful job.

    Stop supporting free hand outs. This “socialism” movement has GOT TO STOP.

  10. It’s clear DeVos not only subscribes to “let the buyer beware” school of ethics, in supporting fraudulent so-called education institutions, she clearly shares “there’s a sucker born every minute” school’s idea of business.

  11. The socialist House is wrong. The student & student family is responsible to choose the schools they attend. It is not the tax payers (Government)responsibility to pay off the loan. I’ve heard of kids buying cars, taking vacation to Europe with student loan money, what is this about.

    If they want their student loan forgiven, join the military for 4yrs or the number of yrs they took a loan.

    The government is not responsible for their mistakes. Ms DeVos is doing a wonderful job. Stop supporting free hand outs.

    1. You are a tool of the rich. I already gave 11 years to the Army long ago yet my loans will not be forgiven. What about the 13 trillion Wall Street was given? What about the biggest handout in history? Lieing fascist pigs! The government is not responsible for the mistakes (criminality) of Wall Street but they still gave them a 13 TRILLION DOLLAR bailout. You think we are stupid. You think we can’t understand what has happened. You and the elites have it coming!!!!!!!!

    2. I don’t know where you heard about student loan money going to cars and vacations. I would check my sources on that one. Usually student loan monies go straight to the educational institutions. Anyway, I would rather support the students and their families than a bunch of rich politicians who are partying and playing golf in Florida with my tax money.

    3. There aren’t enough bullshit flags in the universe to cover that load. DeVoss is NOT doing a wonderful job. She is the most unqualified Secretary of Education ever. Full stop. It’s also NOT socialist policy to make sure that people who put their trust and money into an organization don’t lose their shirt because those organizations are fiscally irresponsible. My nephew attended one of these colleges, he was very clear that they misled him about almost everything in their program. He considers himself lucky to be able to have gotten a two-year degree despite all that. Some of the students he knew from the school weren’t so lucky. The majority of these “for profit” make promises they don’t deliver on. If a con artist rips people off, they are allowed to take him/her to court and demand restitution.
      As for this “I’ve heard of kids taking vacations to Europe”, oh please. You heard that where? That’s an absolutely laughable asinine statement, in the face of plenty of evidence that students who go through these programs end up heavily in debt. You have absolutely zero understanding of how those colleges exploited people and how Betsy DeVoss is one of the worst Cabinet members in modern history. The House did EXACTLY the right thing.

    4. Oh PLEASE! That’s just stupid. If a company falsely advertises their ‘wares,’ someone believes their lies and purchases their ‘wares,’ and suffers as a result – the COMPANY SHOULD BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR FRAUD. You would probably blame the weakling who gets beat up by a bully because s/he couldn’t defend themselves. Lord have mercy.

    5. BS! Get rid of her and her terrible views of students. College has become so necessary
      that we must be sure that students are receiving a good education, and that they may
      need help for paying for their education!

  12. It is amazing that only 19 AG’s are supporting relief for defrauded students. Are 30 states perfectly OK for their citizens to be defrauded – and then attached by our own taxpayer-funded Dept. Of Education? Sad & immoral.

  13. This woman has too much money to understand how hard it is for most college students to achieve their degrees. Wish there were a way to give her a typical college student budget to live on.

  14. As a believer in the strength of a democracy being commensurate to the education of its citizenry,, we must all work to enhance the right to education at all levels for all Americans.
    Does anyone remember Ms DeVos outlining her plan for education in America (a basic tenet to her position)???

  15. Finally standing up to this rich politician
    That has no knowledge of anything except her own wealthy bubble. She should never be in office she has no
    Skills for the office she represents.

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