Healey, Democratic attorneys general defend student loan protections

Education

Colleges and universities are especially concerned about the excessively broad definitions of substantial misrepresentation and breach of contract, the lack of meaningful due process protections for institutions and "financial triggers" under the new rules.

In a letter dated Monday to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the lawmakers said some of the changes removed requirements aimed at protecting student borrowers and helping them repay loans.

California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools (CAPPS) v. Betsy DeVos - is now before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and challenges the U.S. Department of Education's Borrower Defense Regulations, issued by the Obama administration in November 2016.

DeVos, a Republican and advocate of public-private partnerships in education, said she was delaying the effective date of the rule on accelerating the process, which was enacted at the end of past year under the administration of former President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

Debt forgiveness claims already filed by 16,000 borrowers will be processed as promised. "Delaying the borrower-defense rule would be a monumental dereliction of the duty you have to protect students and taxpayers", the senators wrote, "and would increase the risk of repeating the recent history of students left holding the bag while executives at collapsing institutions made away with millions in profits".

Eight states and the District of Columbia filed a motion in federal court Tuesday seeking to retain the rules. Almost 4,500 American Career Institute students in MA have qualified for federal loan forgiveness of $30 million of debt.




Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey added that she plans to sue the Education Department "to defend these critical regulations and the rights of our students and taxpayers". Separately, 2,000 MA students who attended Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit chain that went bankrupt in 2015, also were eligible for loan discharges.

Last year, the ITT Technical Institute, one of the nation's largest chains of for-profit colleges, shut down, saying it couldn't survive sanctions by the department.

Rohit Chopra, a senior fellow at the Consumer Federation of America, lamented DeVos' decision to revise the rules.

What exactly would a federal school voucher program look like, and would it fund schools that discriminate against students based on their gender, religion, race or sexual orientation?

"It's time to take a step back and make sure these rules achieve their goal: helping harmed students".

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