Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: Bipartisan Senate Vote on Debt Forgiveness for Defrauded Borrowers Is a Major Win for Students
Press Statement

STATEMENT: Bipartisan Senate Vote on Debt Forgiveness for Defrauded Borrowers Is a Major Win for Students

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Senate passed a joint resolution overturning a September 2019 regulation issued by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos that would have made it nearly impossible for defrauded student borrowers to get their loans canceled. This is companion legislation to a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives that passed 231-180 with bipartisan support earlier this year. The resolution now must be signed or vetoed by President Donald Trump. Ben Miller, vice president for Postsecondary Education at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:

This vote shows that Congress is finally willing to hold this administration accountable for Secretary Betsy DeVos’ repeated protection of exploitative schools. This administration’s borrower defense rule used the wheels of bureaucracy to crush ripped-off students through unfair evidence standards and a process they had no hope of successfully completing. We are glad to see bipartisan recognition of these flaws.

Bipartisan congressional rejection of Secretary DeVos’ borrower defense rule is yet another sign of this administration’s inability to help ripped-off borrowers. DeVos has refused to process borrower defense claims since she assumed office, even as the number of applications for relief rose to 169,722 by the end of January 2020. Meanwhile, thousands of borrowers who were already found to have been harmed after attending places such as Corinthian Colleges are being subject to mathematically impossible criteria to receive full relief. 

Overturning this borrower defense rule is particularly important because the institutions that generated the most relief claims disproportionately preyed on low-income students, students of color, and veterans. The gross mistreatment of defrauded students under Secretary DeVos is a grave injustice to the United States’ most marginalized students.

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For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at cseeberger@americanprogress.org or 202-741-6292.