By Sabat Ali , age 11
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is currently being sued by 19 Democratic attorneys general. They want to prevent her from further delaying an Obama-era rule designed to protect student loan borrowers. Had it gone into effect on July 1, the rule, known as the “borrower defense to repayment,” would have made it easier to forgive loan payments in cases in which schools used dishonest methods to encourage students to take out loans.
The lawsuit claims DeVos violated federal law by canceling the rule without allowing those most affected by the decision to comment. “Her decision to cancel vital protections for students and taxpayers is a betrayal of her office’s responsibility,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, in a New York Times article.
Under the rule, graduates such as Jessica Madison were told their school loans had been forgiven, but the government continues to take money out of her paycheck. “I wasn’t able to have power for weeks because my checks couldn’t cover the bills,” Madison told The Washington Post.
In March, DeVos also weakened the gainful employment rule, which punished vocational programs that encourage graduates to take on huge amounts of debt. The delaying or weakening of these protections greatly impacts students struggling under massive amounts of student loan debt. Around 64,000 applications for student loan relief are still under review, with some cases delayed for over three years. These students’ cases may be further delayed or may not be heard at all under the new administration.
Non-profit organizations are also fighting back, including 31 groups for veterans and service members, who recently joined together to oppose DeVos’ delays. In a letter to Congress and DeVos, they wrote that unethical colleges often target veterans and their families.
Vocational: Having to do with a career. A vocational school trains students in grades 7 to 12 in a skill or a trade.