WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Attorneys General from 18 states, plus the District of Columbia, filed a lawsuit against Secretary Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education over the department’s decision to halt the Borrower Defense to Repayment rule, which is meant to protect federal student loan borrowers from abusive for-profit colleges and provide relief for students defrauded by them. The suit is led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) Counsel Ashley Harrington released the following statement:

These Attorneys General are setting an example of what it means to stand up for struggling students. The premise of the Borrower Defense to Repayment Rule is simple--students defrauded by their schools should be able to have their loans discharged. Secretary DeVos has consistently sided with private interests, often at the expense of student borrowers across the country.

With student loan debt and defaults at an all-time high and the effects of the harmful practices of institutions such as ITT Tech and Corinthian Colleges still not fully addressed, it is extremely troubling that this Department has decided to delay and destroy these important protections. If the Department genuinely wants to take a more positive and impactful step, it should allow the Borrower Defense to Repayment Rule and the Gainful Employment Rule to proceed without interruption. These regulations are a starting point to further increase protections and create a higher education system that produces strong student results, not just debt and limited employment options.

Based on its recent track record and substantial connections with the for-profit college industry, we have little confidence that this Department, under Secretary DeVos’ leadership, will produce pragmatic rules that defend students and taxpayers from predatory, for-profit college institutions.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a CRL spokesperson on this issue, please contact Matthew Kravitz at matthew.kravitz@responsiblelending.org or 202-349-1859.

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