Attorneys general sue DeVos over delay of rule to protect students from predatory colleges – Washington Post


Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testifies during a hearing before a House Appropriations subcommittee on May 24 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Updated with a response from the Education Department.

A group of 19 state attorneys general is suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for delaying an overhaul of rules to erase the federal student debt of borrowers defrauded by colleges.

“With no notice, with no opportunity for comment … the DeVos team is trying to cancel this rule,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who is leading the lawsuit, said on a call with reporters Thursday. “It is important that we take action where we see activity by the federal government, Secretary DeVos and the Department of Education, that is unsustainable, unfair and illegal.”

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday, accuses the Education Department of violating federal law by halting updates to a regulation known as the borrower defense to repayment. The rule, which dates to the 1990s, wipes away federal loans for students whose colleges used illegal or deceptive tactics to get them to borrow money to attend. The Obama administration revised it last year to simplify the claims process and shift more of the cost of discharging loans onto schools.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testified before Congress on May 24 on the Trump administration’s proposed education budget. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

Before the changes could take effect July 1, DeVos suspended them last month and said she would convene a new rulemaking committee to rewrite the borrower defense regulation, reviving a process that took nearly two years to complete. Proponents of the revised rule were livid that DeVos made a unilateral decision without soliciting or receiving input from stakeholders or the public.

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