Dem lawmakers: DeVos’s first year a boon for ‘shady’ operations

Dem lawmakers: DeVos’s first year a boon for ‘shady’ operations
© Greg Nash

A new report issued by Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Budget hawks frustrated by 2020 politics in entitlement reform fight MORE (D-Mass.) and Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkJeffries: Trump budget is a 'declaration of war on the American dream' Senate acquits Trump, ending impeachment saga Sanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements MORE (D-Mass.) accuses Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosFree college won't revive the liberal arts Klobuchar rolls out seven-figure ad buy in Nevada Five things to watch in Trump's budget proposal MORE of bolstering "shady" for-profit colleges and student loan companies during her first year in office.

The review, part of Warren's "DeVos Watch" initiative, blasts the Education secretary for rolling back "relief for students who were ripped off by shady for-profit colleges" and exposing student loan borrowers to "high collection fees."

"Betsy DeVos is the worst Secretary of Education this country has ever seen — by a large margin," Warren said in a statement.

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"Secretary DeVos has spent her first year bending over backwards to allow students to be cheated, taking an ax to public education, and undermining the civil rights of students across the country. Secretary DeVos has failed in her job and she must be held accountable," she said.

The review rips DeVos for alleged conflicts of interest stemming from her past financial support for private and charter schools and school-choice advocates, and accuses her of failing to properly disclose such support.

"She has rolled back relief for students who were ripped off by shady for-profit colleges; she has exposed struggling loan borrowers to high collection fees; she has delayed rules ensuring that colleges that take federal student loan dollars are held accountable for student outcomes; and she has weakened oversight of predatory for-profit colleges while allowing bad actors to continue receiving federal student aid dollars," the report reads.

The report also decries efforts by DeVos to roll back civil rights protections, pointing to efforts that the senators say weaken protections for transgender students and victims of sexual assault. 

One of DeVos's more controversial regulatory rollbacks as Education secretary was her decision to rescind Obama-era Title IX guidance for investigating sexual assault on college campuses. 

Critics have said the interim guidance issued in place of the previous policy discourages victims from reporting sexual assault. But DeVos has said her goal was instead to create a fair process for both victims and the accused.