By: Andrea Perez Balderrama
Former students of predatory, for-profit colleges are suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, claiming the U.S. Department of Education intentionally refused to process their applications for federal loan relief.
According to the Huffington Post, DeVos halted the implementation of the Borrower Defense to Repayment regulation in June 2017, leaving the plaintiffs of the lawsuit, and many other students who were not listed, in crippling debt and without a clear path to financial recovery.
“It’s time to take a step back and make sure these rules achieve their purpose: helping harmed students,” Education Secretary DeVos said in a statement to CNN.
Alicia Davis a former student at Florida Metropolitan University, now Everest University, attempted to pursue a criminal justice degree from the university in 2006, oblivious to the fact that it was taking out loans in her behalf.
The school never made the cost of her education transparent, instead telling her not to worry, that everything would be covered by federal aid, grants and scholarships, said the Huffington Post.
Davis had to transfer schools after two years when FMU stopped communicating with her. She decided to go to the University of Central Florida, and when she finished her degree, she had accrued about $100,000 in debt, said the Post.
When Davis learned she couldn’t claim her debt from Florida Metropolitan University back, she decided to sue DeVos. But she is not the only student that has been affected by predatory universities taking out loans in their behalf.
“Literally 160,000-plus people cannot move on with their life because of this non-decision by Besty DeVos,” Davis told the Huffington Post.
The lawsuit, filed in June, claims DeVos is violating the students’ rights by not responding to their requests promptly while being aware of the harm the debt is causing.
“We’re suing Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education to hold them accountable and protect students across the country,” said Project on Predatory Student Lending Director Toby Merrill in a news release.