The Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA) filed a new lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, saying the Department of Education hasn’t complied with the Borrower Defense regulations and continues to collect loans on accounts that should be discharged.
Borrower Defense regulations were established by the Obama administration to cancel loans for borrowers who were deceived by for-profit colleges that shut down before students could obtain their degrees.
The lawsuit was filed by the National Student Legal Defense Network (NSLDN) on behalf of HERA. In a statement, Aaron Ament, president of NSLDN, said, “Under current leadership, the Department of Education seems determined to deny student borrowers the financial relief to which they are entitled. Secretary DeVos is still dragging her feet and hurting tens of thousands of borrowers through her inaction."
The Borrower Defense rules were delayed by DeVos in July 2017, after the Education Secretary proposed changes that would make debt relief harder to obtain for struggling students. Although these changes are slated to go into effect in 2020, DeVos was ordered to cancel loans for those who qualify without making them apply for relief.
According to Ament, “The students we are trying to help have been doubly victimized – first by the for-profit colleges that deceived them, and now by the federal government that refuses to help.”
Liz Hill, a spokeswoman for DeVos, said the Education Department is “moving quickly to implement the rule, starting with the borrowers who qualify for a closed school loan discharge under the 2016 regulations.” Hill also added that officials are “working diligently to identify those borrowers who qualify for the closed school discharge and who are entitled to relief without filing a claim."
It has been estimated that tens of thousands of people who went to the 1,400 Corinthian College and the ITT Technical Institute campuses that closed between November 2013 and November 2015 qualify for the automatic debt forgiveness program.
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