undergroundnewsroom.com April 21, 2018

Betsy DeVos freezes Obama-era rules meant to protect student borrowers

15 June 2017, 02:41 | Ruben Thornton

Sen. Warren, other Democrats protest student loan changes

Sen. Warren other Democrats protest student loan changes

The four senators suggest that special interest pressure on, or collusion with, the Trump administration is the force that has put the borrower rule in jeopardy: "it appears that aggressive lobbying by the for-profit college industry - the very institutions that created the need for this rule by drawing down billions in taxpayer dollars and defrauding tens of thousands of their own students - may be successfully influencing policies that harm students and borrowers.

It is the Department's aim, and this Administration's commitment, to protect students from predatory practices while also providing clear, fair and balanced rules for colleges and universities to follow".

In their letter, the four senators note that at a June 6 hearing in federal court in Washington, addressing a lawsuit by for-profit colleges seeking to block the borrower defense rule, a U.S. Department of Justice lawyer representing DeVos said the Education Department is "studying its options with regard to the effective date" for the new rule.

The department said it would keep its debt forgiveness promise to the 16,000 borrowers who now have claims being processed.

The specific processes by which the department would roll back the rules were laid out in two notices in the Federal Register: for gainful employment and for borrower defense to repayment. "States and local communities are best equipped to make these decisions and framework", she answered when given an example of a charter school in IN that denies admission to students from LGBT households.

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"The Borrower Defense Regulations provide critical protections for borrowers who were subjected to misleading and predatory practices by their postsecondary institutions and improve both the Department and states' ability to deter and combat harmful practices by these institutions".

"We commend the Department for moving forward to begin conversations that will really protect students from academic fraud", Steve Gunderson, CECU's president and CEO, said in a statement. He specifically targeted for-profit, career colleges that promise students they will find jobs post-graduation and can charge high tuition. The coalition calls for the DOE to waste no time in reviewing and approving student loan forgiveness applications related to this case.

It stipulates that student debt repayment from these programs can not exceed 8 percent of annual earnings or 20 percent of discretionary income, or else they risk losing eligibility for federal student aid programs.

"Relieving these hard-working Americans of their fraud-induced student debt will free them to participate more fully in their local economies, or even continue their educations with reputable schools", Becerra writes.

During a Senate budget hearing last week, DeVos was asked directly whether she would prohibit private schools from receiving federal funds if they discriminate against LGBT students.

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