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Peter Greene writes here about Betsy DeVos’s recent decision to roll back Obama-era regulations intended to protect students against predatory for-profit colleges.
Sadly, this is what we have come to expect from a Secretary of Education who is more interested in protecting the free market than protecting students against fraud.
Greene writes that DeVos rolled back
the Obama-era requirement that such schools either show that their graduates actually land jobs, or the school would lose access to all that sweet sweet federal money. That was a powerful piece of leverage, because the for-profit colleges focus on veterans and poor folks with the result that a great deal of the for profit college revenue stream comes from the feds, who loan to the students and pay off the schools, guaranteeing that the for-profits get paid and that the students are in hock to the feds.
Rolling back Obama-era protections is problematic because the Obama administration itself did a super-lousy job of riding herd on these predatory schools. At one point, having announced that they were now by golly going to clamp down those outfits, they turned around and bailed out one of the worst. Then, when that outfit collapsed anyway, the feds let them be sold off to a debt-collection agency.
It was after all that foolishness that the administration finally implemented a gainful employment rule. This was also followed by students scammed by the for-profit agitating to be released from their debts. The Department of Justice requested that the Department of Education simply release the portion of that debt that they held; they refused.
All of that happened before Trump ever descended the escalator to unleash havoc on US politics; it’s only fair to note that this is, in many ways, a mess that DeVos inherited and which the Obama administration never exactly showed signs of fixing.
Last week, DeVos was sued–again–by a boatload of students stranded in massive debt. The student position is that they were defrauded and their loans should be forgiven.
DeVos’s position about loan forgiveness has been to simply pretend to lose all the paperwork and never process any of the requests to have loans erased. Having ignored the rules for two years, DeVos last year tried to get rid of them, and this week she finally did it.
Hundreds of thousands of students who were defrauded by predatory for-profit colleges are on their own. Shameful.