WASHINGTON—Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten in response to the Education Department’s rewrite of the borrower defense rule:
“With great fanfare, Betsy DeVos and the Education Department have announced changes to the borrower defense rule that President Obama’s administration enacted to stop for-profit colleges and loan servicers from ripping off students.
“The good news is, because of the advocacy of students and young adults saddled with college debt, as well as the AFT and other allies, they wouldn’t dare end the rule. The bad news is that what has been proposed is far different than DeVos’ spin.
“Her rewrite makes it harder for defrauded students to get the relief they need and easier for predatory for-profits to get away with ripping off students. It presumes a student is guilty and the profit-driven institutions are innocent by raising the evidence standard for students. It could make borrowers wait until they default before they can apply to have their loan discharged. It makes it harder for students to get relief from closed schools or for groups of students to get relief, as happened with defrauded Corinthian Colleges students. And it ends the ban on mandatory arbitration. Further, the department’s position that federal actions pre-empt state statutes is intended to limit state lawmakers and their attorneys general from protecting borrowers. It appears this is a rule written by the for-profit college industry to support the for-profit college industry.
“Predatory practices by certain so-called colleges across the country have financially gutted working people—many of them first-generation college students, veterans and people of color—while offering them the false hope of a good job and a fair wage. Just about the only thing worse than ripping off students with worthless degrees from for-profit colleges is denying them help to relieve their substantial debt and allowing the schools to continue to prey on students. Once again, DeVos has abandoned her responsibility to students to prop up an industry littered with fraud and bad actors.”