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Murray Statement on DeVos Rule to Block Debt Relief for Cheated Students: “A Devastating Blow”

Secretary DeVos’ borrower defense rule would deny virtually all debt relief to students cheated or defrauded by predatory colleges


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement on the U.S. Department of Education’s announcement of a final “borrower defense” rule which will eliminate more than $11 billion – or nearly 75 percent – of student debt relief that would have been granted under the previous rule to students who were cheated or defrauded by predatory for-profit colleges.


“This rule is a devastating blow for students cheated out of their education and savings by predatory for-profit colleges and desperately in need of relief. Student loan borrowers deserve better, and I’ll keep fighting to make sure they get it.”


The Department’s final borrower defense rule is very similar to the Trump Administration’s initial proposal and will:


  • Make students go to extraordinary lengths to prove their colleges caused them financial and educational harm;
  • Bring back the use of forced arbitration by predatory colleges, which denies students their legal rights by requiring them to go through proceedings that are stacked against them;
  • End automatic discharges for students whose schools collapse, even if the students have not been able to continue on with their education; and
  • Force students to file claims within three years of leaving their school, regardless of whether they were aware of what happened or their right to apply for relief.


The rule will replace an Obama Administration-era rule that protected, and provided student loan discharges to, students cheated or defrauded by predatory colleges that was developed in the wake of major collapses and misconduct of large for-profit college chains since 2015. Even after a federal judge halted relentless attempts by the Trump Administration to undermine protections for students, Secretary DeVos has stalled or limited relief to borrowers and ignored feedback from Congress, students, and consumer advocates. Senator Murray has consistently fought against President Trump and Secretary DeVos’ efforts to roll back these protections back.