Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has delayed justice to more than 100,000 student borrowers who have been defrauded by fake colleges.
The Borrower Defense Rule, which former President Barack Obama’s administration implemented near the end of his presidency in 2016, allows for student debt to be forgiven for students who took out loans for schools that were later found to be fraudulent, like Corinthian Colleges and Trump University.
Five months ago, a federal court ordered DeVos to forgive debts incurred by hundreds of thousands of defrauded borrowers. However, those loans are still in place as of this writing.
According to CNN, the most recent data available, which is between June and September of 2018, shows that of the more than 200,000 people who applied for debt relief under the Borrower Defense Rule, only 48,000 were granted relief. 9,000 others were denied, and the remainder of those who applied are still in limbo. An additional 35,000 people applied for relief during that time period, but no other applications were processed.
DeVos’ decision in 2017 to block the implementation of the Borrower Defense Rule was challenged by 18 state attorneys general, as well as Karl Racine, the attorney general for Washington, DC.
“[T]he Obama rule provided an opportunity for vulnerable people – we’re talking about veterans, a lot of working parents, a lot of minority students – who really sought opportunities to get a leg up in society and were essentially shammed,” Racine told NPR. “What the secretary has done is unlawful.”
The National Student Legal Defense Network sued DeVos’ agency last year over its continued efforts to collect on federal loans taken out by students who were defrauded by shady for-profit colleges that have since been closed. As a Brookings Institution report found in October of last year, Secretary DeVos has consistently sided with the for-profit college industry over defrauded students on multiple occasions, leaving borrowers with not only a useless degree, but with tens of thousands of dollars in debt that they’re unable to repay.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.