Eighteen state attorneys general sued Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Tuesday after she suspended a rule targeting “predatory” colleges.
The attorneys general believe that DeVos unjustly suspended the rule, which denied federal student aid to schools whose average graduates’ student loans comprised more than 8 percent of their earnings or one-fifth of their discretionary income, reported The Washington Post. Schools and programs that did not meet these standards do not classify as “gainful employment.”
“It’s outrageous for the department to say they’re going to allow these predatory institutions to continue to take advantage of people who are vulnerable, people with very few resources,” Brian Frosh, the Maryland attorney general spearheading the lawsuit, told WaPo.
Nearly 10 percent of the 8,700 programs analyzed by education officials in 2016 did not meet gainful employment standards. For-profit colleges offered nearly 100 percent of those programs. DeVos suspended the rule that would have deprived these schools of federal student aid if they failed to meet gainful employment standards twice in three years or came close to failing for four years straight.
DeVos argues that the rule inhibits students from pursuing some forms of education.
“This is just the latest in a string of frivolous lawsuits filed by Democratic Attorneys General who are only seeking to score quick political points,” Liz Hill, the Education Department’s spokeswoman, told WaPo. “While this Administration, and Secretary DeVos in particular, continue work to replace this broken rule with one that actually protects students, these legal stunts do nothing more than divert time and resources away from that effort.”
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