Rep. Wild Holds Betsy DeVos Accountable on Defrauded Student Borrower Relief
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Susan Wild (PA-07) pressed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in the House Education and Labor Committee on her administration’s refusal to process debt relief claims from 240,000 student borrowers who were defrauded by predatory colleges. In defiance of federal court rulings, the Department of Education has refused to provide full loan relief to a single borrower under the Borrower Defense rule, causing a massive backlog in claims from defrauded borrowers seeking relief.
“These students have been cheated twice: First by predatory, for-profits colleges who defrauded them, and now by Secretary DeVos, who refuses to provide them debt relief,” Wild said. “Our students deserve answers. Defrauded borrowers suffer severe financial consequences and Secretary DeVos has continually refused to answer basic questions about the Department’s failure to give these students the relief they are legally entitled to. This is gross negligence to say the least.”
Due to her defiance of a Court order from last year, Secretary DeVos was found in civil contempt of Court in October 2019 for continuing to collect on the loans of defrauded students.
Earlier this week, Secretary DeVos released a new partial relief formula for Borrower Defense, which fails to deliver debt relief to borrowers or provides just a fraction of the full relief they deserve. It would also deny the claims of many students who are entitled to relief.
A total of 6,616 claims from defrauded Pennsylvanian students are still pending with the Department of Education. The Borrower Defense rule ensured that students would not be held responsible for paying back the loans they took out to attend schools that participated in fraudulent activities. Under this rule, Secretary DeVos has the authority to provide full and immediate debt relief to student borrowers who were defrauded by predatory colleges. Instead, she delayed and denied these students the relief they desperately need. Since June 2018, the Department has refused to provide full loan relief to a single borrower under the Borrower Defense rule. This is causing a massive backlog in claims from defrauded borrowers seeking relief.
“Did you not state at the beginning of your testimony that students are your number one priority? Because listening today, I have a hard time believing a defrauded borrower would think you are in their corner,” Wild said while challenging Devos at the conclusion of her questioning.