The rules would have forbidden schools from forcing students to sign agreements that waive their right to sue. Defrauded students would have faced a quicker path to get their loans erased, and schools, not taxpayers, could have been held responsible for the costs.
A final version of the rules was announced last fall after nearly two years of negotiations. The Obama administration started pursuing new rules after the Corinthian Colleges chain shut down in 2015 amid allegations of misconduct, leading to a flood of applications from students seeking to get their loans forgiven.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who is leading the lawsuit against DeVos, said the regulation was a “common-sense measure” meant to protect students.
“Since Day One of the Trump administration, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the administration have sided with for-profit schools over students,” Healey told reporters. “For me and my colleagues, it’s simple: When students and families are cheated out of an education and taxpayers foot the bill, everybody loses.”
The lawsuit says DeVos and the Education Department failed to take legally required steps to delay already established rules. It says they failed to open the decision to public comment and failed to provide an adequate legal justification for delaying the rules, among other faults.
In June, the Education Department said it was delaying the rule because a federal court was weighing a lawsuit brought by a California trade group made up mostly of for-profit colleges seeking to block the rules. The department cited a law allowing such a delay for litigation if it’s found “that justice so requires.”
The attorneys general said that justification is “a mere pretext” for repealing and replacing the regulation.
Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin issued a statement Thursday saying: