DeVos And Trump Launch For-Profit College Crusade

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have launched a for-profit college crusade, making it easier for the institutions to obtain funds.

Some of the boons and repeals on restrictions have received praise, but some have received criticism for allegedly making it easier for schools to scam students, according to Politico.

DeVos pardoned several hundred for-profit colleges which Obama had stripped of accreditation in 2016 via eliminating the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, which the Obama administration claimed approved deceitful schools.

The education secretary also reversed an Obama-era decision denying the family owning Globe University, a group of for-profit colleges, access to federal aid for campuses it wanted to transfer to another school it also owned. A Minnesota court had ruled that Globe University had defrauded students and falsely advertised its criminal justice classes

The Department of Education halted incoming claims by students alleging fraud against for-profit schools. The department has more than 65,000 applications on file for loan forgiveness from students claiming the schools cheated them out of money.

DeVos appointed Julian Schmoke, a former for-profit official, to head a unit tasked with regulating fraud in higher education. DeVry University settled in 2016 a lawsuit in which the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleged the school had deceived students about their potential salary and job opportunities upon graduating. (RELATED: Education Department’s Newest Hire Completely Devoted To Making Sure Colleges Don’t Do Anything Illegal)

“The for-profit college industry appears to have gotten everything they lobbied for and more,” said Pauline Abernathy, the Institute for College Access and Success’ executive vice president, to Politico. Her group promotes the adoption of tighter regulations for for-profit schools.

“From Day One, Secretary DeVos and her advisers have chosen to side with predatory for-profit schools over the interests of students and taxpayers,” said Maura Healey, Massachusetts’ attorney general. Healey, Washington, D.C., and 18 other states sued DeVos for putting a pause on student loan protections. (RELATED: States Sue DeVos Over Suspension Of Student Loan Protections)

Steve Gunderson, who leads Career Education Colleges and Universities, the for-profit college lobbying group, commended the Trump administration’s approach to education.

“I would say it has dramatically improved over what we had,”said Gunderson to Politico, noting that the DeVos-headed DOE “is not engaged in an ideological war from the right, left or somewhere else.”

Gunderson says he had many meetings and conversations with the DOE in Trump’s six months, noting that he only met once with a top DOE representative throughout Barack Obama’s second presidency.

“[DeVos] is committed to protecting students from bad actors while also ensuring they have multiple pathways to quality higher education,” said Liz Hill, DeVos’ spokeswoman, to Politico. “It’s important that we continue to expand, not limit, paths to higher education for students. We can do that while also continuing to hold accountable those institutions that do not serve students well, no matter the institution’s tax status.”

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the DOE for comment, but received none in time for publication.

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