WASHINGTON, D.C. - From January 8-11, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) hosted the second of three negotiated rulemaking sessions on its Borrower Defense to Repayment Rule. The Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) and other advocates are working with DOE officials to strike an agreement to protect students defrauded by their schools.

“We remain concerned that the outcome of this process will be a rule that further insulates bad institutional actors from accountability and effectively denies relief to many defrauded students,” said CRL Counsel Ashley Harrington, who is currently one of the key negotiators. “The student loan debt crisis and institutional fraud and abuse disproportionately impact people of color and low-income students, populations whose access to higher education and other wealth-building avenues are already limited. The ultimate goal should be a rule that recognizes this and works to remedy some of the persistent inequity in our higher educational system. In other words, a strong rule would address instead of codify systemic inequality.”

This marks the second time a committee has been convened on this rule in less than two years. The decision to re-do this negotiated rulemaking process was announced following the DOE’s ill-advised decision to rescind the Obama era’s Borrower Defense to Repayment and Gainful Employment regulations—two rules that CRL supported.

CRL continues to advocate for regulations that move away from the Department's recent track record of supporting predatory for-profit institutions at the expense of taxpayers and students. Such a showing would consist of efforts to create a strong federal standard for relief rooted in consumer protection law and curb the use of mandatory arbitration agreements that prevent students from seeking redress in court.

The third meeting in this negotiated rulemaking process will take place in February.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a CRL spokesperson on this issue, please contact Charlene Crowell at charlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org.

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