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Senate passes rebuke of DeVos over student loan forgiveness

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The Senate on Wednesday gave last congressional approval to a measure that will overturn guidelines issued by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in 2019 that made it more durable for students to get loans erased after being misled by for-profit schools.

The measure, which handed with a 53-42 vote, stands as a uncommon rebuke of DeVos by the Republican-led Senate. The House permitted the measure in January, and it now goes to President Donald Trump. The White House has threatened a presidential veto nevertheless it stays to be seen whether or not Trump will overturn a decision that drew assist from 10 Republican senators.

The Education Department shortly condemned the transfer and defended her coverage.

“It’s disappointing to see so many in Congress fooled by misinformation from the Left and the fake news narrative about our efforts to protect students from fraud,” Education Department spokeswoman Angela Morabito stated in an announcement. “Our rule is consistent with Congress’s intent, it protects students and it treats taxpayers fairly.”

Lawmakers moved to reverse DeVos’ coverage by the Congressional Review Act, which permits Congress to overturn federal guidelines with a easy majority of each chambers and approval of the president. The Senate measure was led by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who informed lawmakers that DeVos has made it almost unattainable for students to get their loans canceled after attending fraudulent for-profit schools.

“She made it extremely difficult for these students to get any relief,” Durbin stated earlier than the vote. “These schools take the money and run, and the students end up holding the bag with massive debts.”

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The measure aims to strike down DeVos’ changes to a policy known as borrower defense to repayment, which promises to cancel federal student loans for borrowers whose colleges commit fraud. It dates to the 1990s but was expanded under the Obama administration to forgive loans for students whose colleges used false claims to get them to enroll.

The Obama-era update was directed at thousands of students who attended Corinthian Colleges, ITT Technical Institute and other for-profit college chains that shut down after authorities found that they made exaggerated claims about the success of their graduates.

But when DeVos took office, she suspended the rules before they took effect and began writing new ones even as thousands of applications awaited review. Her 2019 update made it harder for students to get their loans canceled by requiring them to prove that their colleges knowingly misled them and also caused personal financial harm.

DeVos’ rules required students to apply for relief within three years of leaving the school, and they ended a policy allowing the Education Department to cancel loans for large groups of students that attended schools known to have committed fraud.

The measure would undo DeVos’ changes and restore the rules created under President Barack Obama. The move drew quick praise from borrower advocates and consumer protection groups, along with Democrats and some Republicans.

“We applaud the Senate for its bipartisan vote to overturn the borrower defense rule that attacks the rights of borrowers,” stated Toby Merrill, director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard University. “We call on the president to put the voices of students above the interests of for-profit colleges by signing this bipartisan legislation.”

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Among the Republicans who backed the measure was Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado who stated he was “proud to stand with students who were defrauded by educational institutions.”

“I voted in favor of the Congressional Review Act and against the 2019 rule due to concerns that the new procedures would make it too difficult for defrauded students to receive the relief they are due,” Gardner stated in an announcement.

DeVos beforehand stated the 2016 guidelines had been too beneficiant and allowed too many students to get their loans erased on the expense of taxpayers. Her guidelines had been estimated to save lots of almost $13 billion over a decade, primarily by decreasing the quantity of loan reduction awarded to students.

Her adjustments had been opposed by borrower advocates however embraced by for-profit schools, who stated their trade had unfairly been focused by the Obama administration.

The coverage has been a frequent supply of pressure between DeVos and Democrats, who say the Trump administration stopped processing claims whereas DeVos modified the foundations. As of January, the Education Department stated it had almost 170,000 pending functions.

In complete, about 52,000 have been permitted, the company stated, whereas 28,000 have been rejected.

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