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Congress Rejects DeVos’ Borrower Defense Rollback

Statements From The Project on Predatory Student Lending and Public Citizen

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, in a rare bipartisan vote, the U.S. Senate rebuked U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos by voting to strike down the 2019 borrower defense rollback using the Congressional Review Act. The U.S. House voted to reject the rule in January 2020.

The 2019 rule would eliminate vital student protections from predatory schools and impose onerous standards and procedural hurdles for defrauded students seeking to assert their legal rights to loan cancellation. If not vetoed by the president, Congress’ resolution would leave in place the procedures and protections enacted in 2016 and prohibit the department from issuing a new rule that is “substantially the same” as the 2019 rollback.

In February, the Project on Predatory Student Lending and Public Citizen filed a lawsuit on behalf of the New York Legal Assistance Group, a student advocacy organization, seeking to set aside the department’s 2019 rule, scheduled to take effect in July 2020. The groups argued that the rule is arbitrary, capricious and contrary to law.

“We applaud the Senate for its bipartisan vote to overturn the borrower defense rule that attacks the rights of borrowers. The new rule would make it nearly impossible for cheated borrowers to get their loans discharged. This is contrary to the letter and spirit of the law, and is clearly unacceptable to borrowers across the country, and their congressional leaders. We call on the president to put the voices of students above the interests of for-profit colleges by signing this bipartisan legislation.”

  • Toby Merrill, director, The Project on Predatory Student Lending

“Since the beginning of this administration, the Congressional Review Act has been used at an unprecedented rate to reverse important protections for workers, consumers and our environment. While we oppose use of the Congressional Review Act in general, the fact that Congress used it to protect consumers and students shows just how radical the department’s 2019 rule is in its attacks on student borrowers and its protection of predatory for-profit schools.”

  • Adam Pulver, attorney, Public Citizen Litigation Group