23 state attorneys general sue DeVos over student loan forgiveness change

Nearly two dozen of the country's Democratic attorneys general are suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosStudents at school system Pence called 'forefront' of reopening now in quarantine The Hill's Coronavirus Report: GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani says DC policymakers need to do more to support ventures and 'solo-preneurs'; Federal unemployment benefits expire as coronavirus deal-making deadlocks Democrats look to go on offense in debate over reopening schools MORE over her rollback of Obama-era regulations that allowed students to seek student loan relief if they were scammed by their higher education institution.

“If only college students in America could count on the U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, to fight for them as she has consistently done for the predatory for-profit education industry that has deceived and cheated these very students,” California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraCampaigns accuse California AG of slanted descriptions of ballot initiatives California sues Trump administration to mandate undocumented immigrants are counted for apportionment OVERNIGHT ENERGY: 20 states sue over Trump rule limiting states from blocking pipeline projects | House Democrats add 'forever chemicals' provisions to defense bill after spiking big amendment | Lawmakers seek extension for tribes to spend stimulus money MORE, who spearheaded the complaint with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, said in a statement Wednesday.

He added, “Under her leadership, the U.S. Department of Education has replaced critical borrower protections with a process that makes it virtually impossible for victimized students to get the relief they should qualify for. With today’s lawsuit, we continue to fight for student borrower protections so that all who seek a college degree can do so without being cheated by exploitative for-profit colleges.”


The policies in question, often referred to as borrower defense, are required to exist because of amendments made to the Higher Education Act in 1994.

The Obama administration restructured the policies in 2016, making it so that students could apply for federal loan forgiveness if colleges got them to enroll under false pretenses. The policy especially helped students who had been fleeced by fraudulent for-profit colleges that had lied about the success of their graduates.

DeVos's revised version of the policies heightens the requirements students must meet to gain student loan relief. Students must now show that their income has been affected by their institutions' false statements even if they can prove that their colleges were dishonest in the first place.

The secretary's revision was initially turned away by bipartisan legislation passed by Congress, but President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE vetoed the bill, arguing that it "sought to reimpose an Obama-era regulation that defined education fraud so broadly that it threatened to paralyze the nation’s system of higher education."

The House was unable to repeal the veto, allowing the new regulation to go into effect July 1.

Angela Morabito — the Education Department's press secretary — slammed the lawsuit, calling it "another grandstanding, politically driven lawsuit meant to grab a cheap headline."

"To any objective observer, our borrower defense rule clearly protects students from fraud, ensures they are entitled to financial relief if they suffered harm and holds schools accountable," Morabito told The Hill.