Commonwealth of Virginia
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Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary
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AG HERRING WINS FEDERAL COURT RULING AGAINST EDUCATION SECRETARY DEVOS FOR DELAYING STUDENT LOAN PROTECTIONS
~ Judge rules that U.S. Department of Education's delay of the Borrower Defense Rule violated federal law ~
RICHMOND (September 13, 2018) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring won a victory in federal court against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos after challenging the U.S. Department of Education's plan to abandon federal protections for students cheated by predatory, for-profit schools. The opinion called Secretary DeVos' actions unlawful and ordered an immediate hearing in Washington, D.C to determine remedies.
The decision, filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., is the result of a multistate lawsuit filed by 20 state attorneys general, alleging that the U.S. Department of Education violated federal law by abruptly rescinding its Borrower Defense Rule which was designed to hold abusive higher education institutions accountable for cheating students and taxpayers out of billions of dollars in federal loans.
"This is a big win for students across Virginia and around the Country,” said Attorney General Mark Herring. "The Trump Administration has continuously worked in favor of for-profit colleges, while undermining students and student loan borrowers. This ruling will help us continue working to hold for-profit schools accountable and provide relief for students who took out loans under false pretenses.”
Judge Randolph Moss of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has scheduled a status conference for Friday, Sept. 14 at 10:30 a.m. to address remedies.
The Borrower Defense Rule was finalized by the Obama administration in November 2016 after nearly two years of negotiations, following the collapse of Corinthian Colleges, a national for-profit chain. The rule was set to go into effect on July 1, 2017.
In May 2017, Secretary DeVos announced that the Department was reevaluating the Borrower Defense Rule and later announced its intent to delay large portions of the Borrower Defense Rule without soliciting, receiving, or responding to any comment from any stakeholder or member of the public, and without engaging in a public deliberative process. The Department simultaneously announced its intent to issue a new regulation to replace the Borrower Defense Rule.
Without the protections of the Borrower Defense Rule, many students defrauded by for-profit schools are unable to seek a remedy in court. The rule also prohibits schools from enforcing mandatory arbitration agreements and class action waivers, which are commonly used by for-profit schools to thwart legal actions by students who have been harmed by schools' abusive conduct.