California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has joined the attorneys general of 17 other states and Washington D.C. in suing Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education.
Becerra’s goal is to force DeVos and the Trump administration to reinstate the student loan forgiveness program that passed under the Obama administration. Specifically, the attorneys general are looking for Secretary DeVos and the Department of Education to continue the borrow defense rules that were finalized under President Obama.
The borrower defense rules protect student borrowers from scams operated by for-profit colleges and other higher education institutions. Student debtors that were defrauded by such institutions were eligible to receive total forgiveness on the federal student loans they used to attend those schools.
An example covered by LendEDU would be the for-profit Corinthian colleges, which have ceased to operate. This college chain was misrepresenting employment success numbers amongst their graduates to potential students. Students of the Corinthian Colleges were left unemployed and seriously in debt after graduating.
In May, the New York attorney general began informing 3,000 New York residents that attended the Corinthian Colleges that they may be eligible for loan forgiveness.
Secretary DeVos has froze the borrower defense rules because of a federal lawsuit filed in May by an association of for-profit colleges. The rules were scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2017.
Several for-profit colleges have operated in the state of California, where Becerra is attorney general. Among these schools are Heald, Everest, and ITT Tech; each of these three schools have been under federal investigation and subsequently closed.
ITT Tech was under investigation by the Department of Education for fraud and the school winded up filing for bankruptcy. Students like Marcus Molina were told by the ITT Tech administration that the workload would be easy, only to find out that they were in way over their head.
“I only obtained my GED. This is like way far advanced,” said Molina in a statement to ABC7 in San Francisco. “We were kind of baited in by the administration that the curriculum was easy.”
Molina still owes $8,000 in federal student loans from his time at ITT Tech.
Californian students, like Molina, that attended those three aforementioned schools were eligible for loan forgiveness under the borrower defense schools, but that has since changed.
The Department of Education has yet to comment on the lawsuit filed by the 18 attorneys general, including Xavier Becerra.
Author: Mike Brown
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