Public Citizen To Testify at Education Department Hearings in D.C. and Texas, Argue Against Schools Using Rip-Off Clauses

July 10, 2017

MEDIA ADVISORY

Public Citizen Will Testify at Education Department Hearings in D.C. and Texas, Argue Against Schools Using Rip-Off Clauses to Avoid Accountability

Rule Is Necessary to Protect Students and the Public from Predatory Schools

WHAT: Public Citizen attorney Julie Murray and Public Citizen Texas office Director Adrian Shelley will testify at public hearings in Washington, D.C., and Dallas, Texas, to press for enforcement of a delayed U.S. Department of Education rule that would protect students from forced arbitration provisions buried in enrollment contracts with predatory schools.

The rule, adopted in 2016 but delayed by President Donald Trump’s Department of Education, took more than a year to be finalized and would bring relief to tens of thousands of students of color, veterans and other Americans. Secretary Betsy DeVos has announced that the department intends to reconsider the 2016 rule in a new rulemaking. By delaying and revisiting the 2016 rule, the administration is revoking the rights of thousands of Americans who were deceived into taking on debt for worthless degrees at predatory schools, often concentrated in the for-profit college sector.
Murray and Shelley will testify that students are harmed by forced arbitration clauses, known as “rip off clauses,” which force students to sign away their right to raise claims in court to challenge their school’s fraud or other wrongdoing. Murray and Shelley also will also say that the Education Department has a legal obligation to implement the existing rule immediately and that there is no factual or legal basis to justify revisiting the 2016 rule.

Murray and Shelley’s testimony will occur just days after Public Citizen paired with the Project on Predatory Student Lending to file a lawsuit against the Education Department on behalf of Meaghan Bauer and Stephano Del Rose, former students of the for-profit New England Institute of Art (NEIA) in Brookline, Mass. The students allege that NEIA engaged in unfair and deceptive practices against them and their peers that left them with a useless education, few job prospects and significant debt, and that the delay of the 2016 rule may hinder their efforts to bring claims against NEIA in court.

WHEN:  9 a.m. EDT Monday, July 10 in Washington, D.C.

9 a.m. CDT Wednesday, July 12 in Dallas, Texas

WHERE:  Barnard Auditorium, U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave., SW., Washington, D.C.

Underwood Law Library-Walsh Classroom, Southern Methodist University, 6550 Hillcrest Ave., Dallas, Texas

WHO:  Julie Murray, attorney with Public Citizen
Adrian Shelley, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office

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