Third Way Statement on bipartisan Senate vote to overturn Secretary DeVos’ borrower defense rule
WASHINGTON — Third Way released the following statement from Tamara Hiler, Director of Education:
“Today’s historic vote in the Senate proved once again that protecting defrauded students from predatory institutions is not a partisan issue. Following the lead of their colleagues in the House of Representatives, Senators voted on a bipartisan basis to pass a Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn Secretary DeVos’ ill-conceived 2019 borrower defense to repayment rule in support of defrauded student borrowers nationwide.
“This is an important step for the more than 200,000 students who currently have borrower defense to repayment claims pending with the Department of Education and a signal to predatory institutions that they must be held accountable for the outcomes of the students they serve.
“Under DeVos’ new rule, only 3% of all student loans associated with colleges’ illegal activity would have been cancelled—as the rule as currently written places an unfair burden on victims of illegal predatory practices by colleges by setting a significantly higher standard than other consumer protection laws. The 2019 rule also sets an unjustly short statute of limitations, requires claims to be discharged individually even in cases of well-documented and widespread abuse, and leaves the majority of debt burden on taxpayers rather than the fraudulent institutions.
“The bipartisan nature of this vote also reflects widespread public support for this issue, as 71% of Republicans and 87% of Democrats strongly believe borrowers should have their federal student loans cancelled when they are defrauded by their school.
“Congress’ bipartisan, bicameral rejection of the 2019 borrower defense rule underscores just how unfair, unjust and un-American it is. This vote sends a strong message to the Department of Education that it must go back to the drawing board and figure out a better way to do right by borrowers who have been victimized by the misconduct of their institution. The ball is now in President Trump’s court to sign the joint resolution and carry forward Congress’ intent to hold the federal government accountable to its legal commitment to relieve the debt of borrowers who were deceived by predatory colleges.”