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Betsy DeVos loses lawsuit brought by 19 states

by Courtney Deeren - Copy Editor
Tue, Sep 25th 2018 05:00 pm
Photo credit: Flickr
Photo credit: Flickr

Betsy DeVos has been widely regarded as the worst Secretary of Education in history. According to a Politico study last year, 40 percent of voters didn’t like DeVos, making her the most unpopular member of President Trump’s cabinet. 

There are many potential reasons people believe this, especially now with her recent involvement in the lawsuit after freezing the Borrower Defense Act.

 On Thursday, Sept. 13, DeVos lost the lawsuit against 18 states and the District of Columbia after she froze the act put in place during the Obama administration. 

The details surrounding the case are very clear and available for the public to examine, except for the exact number of states applied for the lawsuit. Some sources say 19, plus the District of Columbia and other sources say 18 states. Regardless, attorneys general from each state and D.C. sued the Secretary of Education as well as the United States Department of Education. They filed on the grounds that DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education delayed the borrower protection rule that was scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2018. 

There are many questions about what the Borrower Defense Act actually is and what exactly it does. It was a rule put into place under the Obama administration and it came in the wake of the Corinthian College collapse. The idea behind the act is that it would offer loan forgiveness to those who felt they were “cheated” by their college. 

CNN explains that in the case of Corinthian College, the grounds for students to claim fraud came from the college portraying higher than average career opportunities.  Mostly, this act pertains to for-profit colleges, which, as described by Money Crashers is “educational institutions that are corporations and often have shareholders. They operate as a business, and the product they sell is education. Their goal is to provide quality education, and in doing so generate a positive return or profit, for their shareholders.”

The claim was that DeVos violated the rule because she had no grounds for delay, and she did not give adequate notice that she would be freezing this act. Judge Randolph Moss claimed that the Education Department's thinking was “was arbitrary and capricious.” The Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey, also went on record speaking on how important this victory was. She said it was a rejection of Trump and DeVos’ attempt to cheat taxpayers and students. 

While this ruling didn’t directly reinstate the act, there will be further hearings to decide the final outcome. It is DeVos’ belief that these and other borrower protection rules are “confusing and unfair” to students and schools. This ruling could also have potential negative effects on student loan borrowers as well. The hope is to implement clear and fair rules for colleges to follow. This means that there is no accountability for commercialized and for-profit colleges. 

This isn’t the only controversy DeVos has found herself in, not unlike a good majority of the Trump administration. DeVos was criticized for multiple Obama era policies, including Title IX guidance on campus sexual assault. 

According to an article in TIME, this implemented a rule allowing colleges to decide which evidence they will use in sexual assault cases. This has drawn support from parents of children who claim they were falsely accused. 

Additionally, her views on the rights of LGBT members and students of color have raised many concerns, particularly for civil rights groups. She also wanted to cut back on investigations into civil rights violations in schools. 

With all this uncertainty going around, Forbes encourages students to look at their next steps carefully. Some other options for students are loan refinancing, making extra payments on the principles, and consolidation of loan debts. 

If you or someone you know needs help figuring out the next step checkout the Forbes article, “Betsy DeVos Loses Lawsuit On Student Loan Forgiveness” for their tips. It is encouraged that current and former students check how this affects them.

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