U.S. Sens. Klobuchar, Smith Fight to Overturn U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ Harmful Rule that Guts Protections for Student Loan Borrowers

WASHINGTON, D.C. [09/30/19]–U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) are pushing to overturn U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ move to gut essential protections for student loan borrowers who’ve been wronged by their schools. 

The Senators joined more than thirty of their Senate colleagues in introducing a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval of DeVos’ rewritten borrower defense rule, which makes it more difficult for borrowers who are defrauded by their school or harmed by their school’s closure to receive relief.

“Students shouldn’t have to worry about predatory practices from colleges while they are preparing to further their education and career,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “This harmful rule makes it harder for students to obtain financial relief while allowing colleges to avoid accountability. Congress must work to reverse this rule and protect our students seeking the quality, affordable educational opportunities that they deserve.” 

“It’s flat-out-wrong that Secretary DeVos is rolling back measures to provide relief to students who were defrauded by their colleges,” said Sen. Smith. “With this Administration and Secretary DeVos, our watchdogs are asleep at the wheel and unscrupulous actors will be free to break the rules. It’s unfair to treat students like this and I’ll continue to stand up for them. ”

Specifically, the DeVos rule: 

  • Cuts $11.1 billion in expected relief to students compared to the 2016 rule, currently in effect, by making it more difficult for borrowers to obtain relief;
  •  Increases the burden on defrauded borrowers to gather and submit, often impossible to obtain, evidence to prove their claim including that the school intentionally harmed them;
  • Establishes a statute of limitations on claims—expiring 3 years after leaving school—despite the fact that a school’s misconduct often doesn’t become known until many years after it;
  • Eliminates prohibition on class action bans and mandatory arbitration clauses from the 2016 rule—practices used, primarily in the for-profit college industry, to prevent students from suing a school for misconduct in court;
  • Eliminates ability for borrower whose claims are denied from having their claims reconsidered with new evidence.

CRA resolutions of disapproval allow Congress to overturn regulatory actions of federal agencies with a simple majority vote in both chambers.  A time for consideration of the resolutions on the floor of each chamber will be coordinated with House and Senate leadership.

A copy of the Senate resolution of disapproval is available here. A copy of the House resolution of disapproval is available here.