THERE HASN’T been a Secretary of Education so hostile to the basic tenants of what an education should be as Betsy Devos in recent memory.
Most of the increase in loan defaults over the last decade has come from for-profit institutions. In 2014, for example, University of Phoenix students owed $35.5 billion to the federal government; 45 percent of those who were supposed to begin repayments in 2009 had defaulted; only 1 percent of this cohort had repaid their debts.
For-profit colleges and universities, however, have found a friend in Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
With former administrators from and lobbyists for for-profit colleges serving in prominent staff positions, DeVos’s Department of Education adopted a market-based accountability caveat emptor approach to this sector of higher education. The DOE dropped a requirement for risky for-profits to set aside funds (or purchase insurance) in case the schools closed. The decision allowed several institutions to limp along on life support, continue to enroll students, and to shut down without owing the government any money. The Department’s effort to get rid of an Obama-era rule making it easier for students to file for debt relief on loans when colleges had defrauded them was put on hold by a federal judge, who deemed its freeze of claims “arbitrary and capricious.” And DeVos’s rescue squad has re-instated the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (removed by Obama’s DOE), whose seal of approval allowed — in at least two major instances — for-profit schools to secure federal student loans despite public allegations of fraud, false advertising, and grotesquely low graduation rates.
READ THE FULL STORY AT THE HILL HERE.
Now according to the New York Times, “Students who said they were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity were significantly less likely to get any relief from the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights under the Trump administration than they were under the Obama administration, according to a report released Monday.”
It goes on: “The report found that the Trump administration was less likely to investigate claims of discrimination filed by the students — and more likely to dismiss them. The percentage of complaints that resulted in a school being required to take action to remedy the discrimination under the current administration was nine times lower than under the Obama administration, it concluded.”