Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Trump Back DeVos On Soaking Scammed Students

Trump has mostly ignored DeVos and the education department (insert joke about Trump and education here), but he's now decided to jump in, with both feet, right onto the backs of people scammed by for-profit colleges.

This story has been dragging on for-freakin-ever. In 2017, 18 states and DC sued DeVos over her stated intention of ignoring/rewriting the Borrower Defense to Repayment rule from 2016, which was supposed to help out those students who were being crushed by debt they'd incurred so they could attend fraudulent for-profit colleges. While that dragged on, the department "accidentally" kept collecting debt, in some cases attaching paychecks of students. The "accident" was egregious enough that the court found DeVos and the department in contempt and fined them bigly for ignoring the injunction to stop the collecting.

Judge Sallie Kim was pretty cranky when she offered the October ruling (“I’m not sending anyone to jail yet, but it’s good to know I have that ability.” So she was not any happier in December when it turned out that the department had been collecting-- against the injunction-- from not just 16,000 students, but from over 45,000. So, a more-than-double oopsy.

DeVos has been plenty clear in her feelings about debt relief, siding whole-heartedly the corporate interests. She has thoroughly choked off the public service loan forgiveness program as a prelude to proposing to kill it entirely. Called in before the House Education Committee to explain why she was still dragging her feet on loan forgiveness for the scammed students, she offered a very DeVosian quote:

I understand that some of you here just want to have blanket forgiveness for anyone who raises their hand and files a claim, but that simply is not right.

The very idea of people borrowing money and then being excused from paying it back really, really rubs her the wrong way. She hates it. So she wrote new rules, under which hardly anyone would get loan forgiveness.

And Congress finally said, "Enough."

The House and Senate used the Congressional Review Act to overturn the DeVos rule. The rule was opposed by 85 groups, including nine veterans' groups (veterans, with their tasty GI benefits, are popular targets of predatory for-profits), and so DeVos managed to spark actual bipartisan support for undoing her handiwork.

So a few weeks ago, during the magical hope-nobody's-looking hour of Friday afternoon, Trump unleashed his very first Presidential veto, once again suggesting that he is perhaps not exactly a great friend to US veterans. The House and Senate need a 2/3rds vote to override, and while that is a safe bet in the House, but far less certain in the Senate. Meanwhile, a group of US citizens and veterans who thought they were taking steps to build a better future find themselves in the midst of a pandemic, saddled with debt and a future made more uncertain by His Royal Hairness. Call your Congressperson.

No comments:

Post a Comment