August 1, 2016
This letter suggests improvements to the rule that would amend the Borrower Defense to Repayment provision of the Higher Education Act (HEA) in order to ensure that students and taxpayers will not have to bear the economic burdens that arise when higher learning institutions make misrepresentations and fail to provide an adequate education to students.
CRL applauds the Department for proposing a rule that requires schools to provide financial restitution for their actions and omissions, provides a process for loan discharge without individual claim submission, and addresses mandatory pre-dispute arbitration agreements. While we applaud the rule, we recommend the following improvements:
- Restore the ability of student borrowers to bring a defense to repayment claim under state law regardless of the date of loan disbursement, making the new federal standard a floor, not a ceiling
- Ensure all claims are adjudicated by an impartial actor and ensure certification of group claims is subject to a fair and transparent process
- Strengthen the pre-dispute arbitration provisions and close loopholes