STATEMENT: DeVos’ Borrower Defense Rule Represents a Miscarriage of Justice for Cheated Students

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Department of Education released final rules that define a borrower defense to repayment process for students to get their loan forgiven if their school took advantage of them. Unfortunately, the proposal essentially cuts off any chance students will actually receive relief. The Higher Education Act’s borrower defense to repayment provision allows borrowers who were misled by their institutions of higher education or whose schools engaged in forms of misconduct that violated certain laws to become eligible for loan forgiveness.

Under Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ leadership, the Education Department has refused to grant or deny borrower defense claims since mid-2018. According to Federal Student Aid data shared with the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, nearly 180,000 applications for relief are pending as of March 2019.

Ben Miller, vice president for Postsecondary Education at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:

Secretary DeVos continues to bend to the whims of the most exploitive schools. The changes outlined unfairly increase the burden on borrowers, which will continue the green light for predatory activity set by this administration. For instance, the new rule eliminates the auto-loan discharge for borrowers whose schools closed. The rule, which relies on warped logic, represents a miscarriage of justice for students who were cheated by predatory programs.

Brent J. Cohen, executive director of Generation Progress, released the following statement:

Students who are scammed by predatory institutions deserve to have their loans forgiven. Generation Progress has worked directly with thousands of students cheated by these institutions, and we know that the callous inaction of this administration has meant that their lives and economic prospects have been kept in painful limbo for years. These students, who are disproportionately low-income students of color and first-generation college students, have already been failed here by the federal government’s lack of oversight, and, with this rule, Secretary DeVos’ Department of Education has failed them again.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202-741-6292.

To view this release or to speak with an expert at Generation Progress, please contact Emily Leach at or visit genprogress.org/press.