For Immediate Release - June 14, 2017

AG Healey Files Intervention to Protect the Rights of Students in U.S. Department of Education Lawsuit

With Secretary DeVos Signaling Rollback of New Rules, AG Leads Legal Defense of Protections for Students Victimized by For-Profit Schools

BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey led a coalition of nine attorneys general in filing a motion to intervene in a lawsuit to prevent critical student protections from being dismantled. 

The case – California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools (CAPPS) v. Betsy DeVos – is currently before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and challenges the U.S. Department of Education’s Borrower Defense Regulations, issued by the Obama administration in November. The challenged regulations provide critical protections for federal student loan borrowers against misconduct by abusive schools and colleges, including for-profit companies, and assist in the enforcement of state consumer protection laws. The regulations provide avenues for student loan borrowers who have been deceived or cheated by their schools to obtain loan forgiveness.

The attorneys general filed their motion on Tuesday following recent statements by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that cast serious doubt on the Department’s commitment to defend the regulations. In May, before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee, DeVos suggested that they were “studying carefully and looking at” the already finalized federal rule.

 “While Secretary DeVos and her advisors remain silent, a trade association backed by predatory, for-profit school executives is trying to dismantle one of our most important protections for students and taxpayers,” AG Healey said. “We need a Department of Education that will vigorously defend protections for vulnerable students, not enable the continued abuse and fraud we have fought against for years. Today my office has joined with other states to defend these protections to ensure that struggling borrowers get the loan relief they deserve and that schools pay when they break the law.”

AG Healey’s Office, along with the California Attorney General’s Office, had an active role on the Department of Education’s negotiated rulemaking committee that helped develop the Borrower Defense Regulations. Under these regulations, a successful enforcement action against a school by a state attorney general entitles borrowers to obtain loan forgiveness, and enables the Department of Education to seek repayment of any amounts forgiven from the school. 

“The Borrower Defense Regulations provide critical protections for borrowers who were subjected to misleading and predatory practices by their postsecondary institutions and improve both the Department and states’ ability to deter and combat harmful practices by these institutions. If CAPPS is successful in its efforts to overturn these regulations, the State Movants’ interests in protecting their students, ensuring the efficacy of their enforcement efforts, and preserving finite state resources will be harmed,” the motion states.

Joining AG Healey in today’s motion are the attorneys general of California, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New York, Oregon, and Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

AG Healey continues to lead efforts to help students who were deceived by predatory for-profit schools – and has secured more than $50 million in debt relief for students that went to Corinthian Colleges and the American Career Institute. The AG’s Office has also reached settlements worth more than $6 million with Kaplan Career Institute, Lincoln TechSullivan & Cogliano, and Salter College, and has filed a lawsuit against ITT Tech. The AG’s Office has rallied state attorneys general and members of Congress to speak out on the importance of loan discharge, authored letters, and organized calls and meetings with the Department of Education to help students struggling with their federal loan debt.

Students looking for more information or assistance should visit the AG Healey’s Student Lending Assistance page or call the Student Loan Assistance Unit Hotline at 1-888-830-6277.

Click here to find the Motion to Intervene and here for the Memorandum of Law.