Senator Murray Statement on Betsy DeVos’ Newly Announced Borrower Defense Relief “Methodology”
Murray: “While this step is deeply concerning, unfortunately, it’s not surprising—because it is one more in a long list of examples of Secretary DeVos skirting her legal responsibilities to protect students and borrowers.”
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension, released the following statement on the Department of Education’s (Department) revised formula for providing loan relief to defrauded borrowers under the Borrower Defense Rule. The Department released its formula as 210,168 borrowers nationally and 6,424 borrowers in Washington state have yet to receive qualified relief.
“If a student has been cheated or defrauded by their college, they should get their money back, plain and simple—but this new “methodology” uses faulty math to justify denying borrowers the relief they are owed,” said Senator Murray. “While this step is deeply concerning, unfortunately, it’s not surprising—because it is one more in a long list of examples of Secretary DeVos skirting her legal responsibilities to protect students and borrowers.”
Senator Murray has consistently fought to provide urgently-needed student debt relief to cheated and defrauded student loan borrowers and has opposed Betsy DeVos’ repeated attempts to stall and block relief. In May 2015, she was among the very first Members of Congress to call for the Secretary of Education to use the “borrower defense” authority to discharge loans for students who were lied to by the defunct for-profit college company, Corinthian Colleges, Inc. In June 2017, Senator Murray opposed efforts to illegally delay implementation of the 2016 borrower defense regulation—a rule which a federal court later ordered the Department to implement. In October and November 2017, she strongly opposed the Department’s first effort to apply “partial relief” to cheated and defrauded borrowers—a scheme that was also later blocked by a federal judge and remains under court injunction. In August 2018, Senator Murray led 45 Senate Democrats in formally opposing the Secretary DeVos’ new borrower defense rule that would deny the vast majority of borrowers any relief. And, in September 2019, she condemned Secretary DeVos’ final borrower defense rule which the Department’s own estimates show to eliminate $11 billion – or nearly 75 percent – of debt relief that would have been granted under the previous borrower defense rule, leaving thousands of students mired in worthless debt they cannot repay.
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