Betsy Devos’ refusal to respect student loan forgiveness shows her disregard for the law
Even in a government full of people without the integrity, the will, or the courage to do what is right, most authorities step down – or at least pretend when ordered by the courts. But not the Department of Education under Secretary Betsy DeVos, who through her losses in court for her efforts to deny the rightful debt relief that people who attended predatory, for-profit colleges and borrowers who are disproportionately female, seem to deny Seems to be more animated and people of color, and now often work on the front lines.
First, DeVos tried to delay an update to the Obama-era Borrower Defense to Repayment rules – an ordinance from the 1990s that said that if a school breaks state law, borrowers have the right to their federal student loans cancel. The Obama administration’s update included new safeguards such as banning schools from preventing students from suing in class actions. A judge found that DeVos delayed this rule “unlawful“And” arbitrary and capricious “.
It has also failed to cancel the debts of tens of thousands of borrowers that the government already deemed legitimate. Another lawsuit challenged this failure, and the court ordered DeVos to Stop Collection for all borrowers covered by the lawsuit; 16,000 Students and parents were picked up anyway. So DeVos was detained in disregard of the court and the department was fined $ 100,000.
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In a stunning demonstration of their persistent lawlessness, the department then found another 17,258 borrowers it had been collected illegally after the verdict.
DeVos’ legal troubles didn’t stop there. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey had previously applied to the department on behalf of 7,200 former Corinthian college students, stating that their debts were illegal and therefore bad debt. In 2018, a court found that DeVos illegally confiscated the tax refund from two Massachusetts borrowers as they had outstanding debt relief applications. But DeVos continued to illegally seize tax refunds from other Massachusetts borrowers even after that ruling, leading to another legal action.
In June of that year, the same judge who found DeVos’ actions illegal in 2018 ordered her to cancel cancel’s debts all 7,200 former Corinthian College students in Massachusetts.
A series of legal defeats like this could pause a department head. Instead, DeVos was in full swing.
It has rewritten borrower defense regulations so dramatically that almost no borrower will ever qualify for debt relief again; the department itself only appreciated that about 3 cents of every dollar borrowed is given away under the DeVos rule. So drastic was its recast that 10 Republican senators joined the Democrats to vote for it cant rewrite them in March of that year and Trump’s veto kept DeVos revised.
And now the department is trying a particularly cruel and Orwellian sleight of hand – they are denying debt relief without admitting it. you are Write Tens of thousands of defrauded borrowers that their claims have been approved but in the absence of evidence that they have been harmed, the debt relief amount is zero dollars.
But maybe that’s to be expected: DeVos naturally had their department stacked up with them former executives from for-profit colleges such as Robert Eitel and Diane Auer Jones, both formerly part of the for-profit college chain Career Education Corp.
And once, when she was forced to process debt cancellations previously approved by the Obama administration, she took the time to post a comment at the bottom of the form stating that she consented to the cancellations.with extreme displeasure. “
The ministry’s refusal to uphold the rule of law has led the courts to larger, broader, and more criminal sentences than courts normally deliver against federal agencies. Their persistence is wasting government resources denying layoffs to Black and Latinx borrowers hit by the hard-hit borrowers last crisis – and now tougher with the pandemic.
As a result of the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession, black people lost their wealth more than the half, and Latinx’s net worth dropped 66 percent. These communities were then targeted a second time as for-profit colleges plunged into the havoc, making false promises and falsifying employment statistics to get people in hard-hit communities to enroll in their schools. Fraud has been endemic to these institutions (as the cascade of litigation and investigation shows), which is one of the reasons that for-profit college graduates usually do earn less after graduation than before. These are the same duped students DeVos claimed they were simply looking for.free money. “
But the targeting worked: Black women put on make-up 26 percent of those enrolled at the for-profit giant Corinthian before collapsing into bankruptcy. In Massachusetts, at two Corinthian schools, 80 percent of the students were women and 75 percent were black or Latinx.
So during the Obama administration there were thousands of alumni from for-profit colleges organized with a group called The debt collective and demanded their right to debt relief under the borrower defense rules of the 1990s. Borrowers pointed to lawsuits and investigations – like that of the Ministry of Education Enforcement actions Against the for-profit giant Corinthian, who went bankrupt in 2015 after evidence of widespread misconduct – as evidence that she and, as a result of that fact, the government had been betrayed.
However, the Obama administration declined appeals borrower and Advocates likewise, to cancel these debts in large quantities; one borrower, Pamela Hunt, was even called a Video Message to President Barack Obama urging him to cancel borrowers’ debts en masse before leaving office. Instead, however, they put in place a process to determine who receives debt relief, claim by claim. This made the many borrowers with undecided claims uniquely vulnerable to a DeVos-led department that aggressively defied both borrowers’ rights and the courts.
The consequence now is that too many students who have been betrayed by for-profit schools that are entirely dependent on federal dollars are still suffering from unjust and unmanageable debt and relying on a cabinet member who believes the law is not on them is applicable.