Education Department forced to cancel $150 million in student debt from for-profit college scams

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 18: (AFP OUT) Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks during a cabinet meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room of the White House, July 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Betsy DeVos

These will be long overdue happy holidays for around 15,000 students scammed by for-profit colleges that have since closed: a court battle has forced the Department of Education to cancel $150 million in student loan debt. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had tried to stop an Obama-era policy protecting students from the worst abuses of for-profit colleges, but as has so often been the case, a federal judge got in the way of some of the worst the Trump administration wanted to do.

While this is news for 15,000 people to celebrate, it’s “a good first step, but it’s not good enough,” said Sen. Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Education Committee. Murray called on DeVos to “abandon her attempts to rewrite the borrower defense rule to let for-profit colleges off the hook and instead fully implement the current rule and provide relief to more than 100,000 borrowers who were cheated out of their education and savings.”

It’s important to remember that the $150 million in loans aren’t being canceled because DeVos saw the light or the Trump administration wanted to do anything good for anyone. As Murray said, “It’s disappointing that it took a court order to get Secretary DeVos to begin providing debt relief to students left in the lurch by predatory for-profit colleges.” Disappointing … or some stronger word. Still, in the Trump era, partial relief forced by a court order while the administration looks for ways to keep helping predatory big business over people trying to get an education definitely makes the good news list.

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