Chairman Scott Asks Secretary DeVos to Testify About Education Department’s Refusal to Provide Debt Relief to Defrauded Students

Chairman Scott asks Secretary to appear before the Committee on November 19

WASHINGTON – Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) formally invited Secretary DeVos to testify before the Committee on Tuesday, November 19, to discuss the Department’s refusal to provide debt relief to nearly 60,000 students who were defrauded by Corinthian Colleges, a defunct for-profit college chain.

Following the 2015 collapse of Corinthian Colleges, the Obama administration issued the Borrowers Defense rule that ensured defrauded students would not be held responsible for paying back the loans they took out to attend the school. However, under Secretary DeVos, the Department has refused to implement the rule despite several court orders to do so.  

Roughly 60,000 Corinthian students who have been legally certified as eligible for debt relief under Borrowers Defense are still waiting for the Department to discharge their loans. They are among the more than 210,000 pending Borrowers Defense claims that are awaiting action.

Last Thursday, a court found Secretary DeVos in contempt for refusing to comply with a court order to process Corinthian students’ claims. In the rule the judge stated: “There is no question that [the Secretary’s] violations harmed individual borrowers who were forced to repay loans either through voluntary actions or involuntary methods (offset from tax refunds and wage garnishment) and who suffered from the adverse credit reporting.”

In the letter to Secretary DeVos, Chairman Scott outlined the highlighted her central role in the Department’s handling of Borrowers’ Defense claims.

“The Secretary is the only appropriate Department official for the Committee’s hearing on the Department’s treatment of defrauded Corinthian students. You personally review and sign borrower defense decision memos. You have spoken publicly on your contempt for the Obama-era rule that your Department continues to refuse to implement, despite a court order requiring it to do so,” Chairman Scott wrote to Sec. DeVos. “You have personally and publicly defended your violation of a court order.  And the Department recently indicated that you were personally overseeing the correction of errors committed by loan servicers. Finally, you are the only high-level Department official who has remained at the agency across the relevant time span.”

The letter requests that Secretary DeVos confirms her attendance by November 1.

To read the full text of the letter, click here.


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