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DeVos rolls back Obama-era policy that aimed to curb abuse from for-profit colleges

DeVos rolls back Obama-era policy that aimed to curb abuse from for-profit colleges
© Greg Nash

Education Secretary Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVosPardon talk intensifies as Trump approaches final 24 hours in office Azar in exit letter to Trump says Capitol riot could 'tarnish' legacy READ: Departure letter from HHS Secretary Azar to Trump MORE moved Friday to roll back a policy created under the Obama administration that aimed to prevent for-profit colleges from predatory practices. 

The Department of Education posted a notice online, saying the Gainful Employment rule created in 2014 would be repealed entirely starting July 1, 2020.

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Under Gainful Employment rules, for-profit colleges were required to share student debt-to-earnings ratios to prove their programs were worth the cost and adequately educated students. Colleges that consistently left graduates with low incomes and high debt would lose federal funding. 

In the notice posted Friday, however, DeVos officials argued that the rule was flawed and other factors outside of program quality could contribute to a graduate's future salary.

"Again and again, Secretary DeVos proves she only cares about protecting for-profit colleges, no matter how many students they swindle," Aaron Ament, president of the National Student Legal Defense Network, said in a statement.

The move comes as the student debt crisis has become a policy topic among 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, and the lawmakers debate how to address the more than $1 trillion in outstanding student debt in the U.S. 

Earlier this week, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: Trump leaves changed nation in his wake Cori Bush dismisses concerns of being 'co-opted' by establishment The Memo: Biden prepares for sea of challenges MORE (I-Vt.) released his plan to cancel $1.3 trillion in student debt, a move that comes after challenger Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden pick for Pentagon cruises through confirmation hearing Senate Democrats call on Biden to immediately invoke Defense Production Act Biden consumer bureau pick could take over agency on Inauguration Day MORE (D-Mass.) rolled out her own plan to forgive tens of thousands in loans.

DeVos has taken a number of steps to roll back other Obama-era rules targeting for-profit colleges, including dismantling a team dedicated to uncovering fraud at such institutions and reinstating a for-profit college accreditor despite her own staff's warnings that the organization did not meet federal standards.