SECRETARY OF EDUCATION DEVOS LEAVES DOUBT DEFRAUDED STUDENTS' CREDIT REPORTS HAVE BEEN FIXED

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[Education News\Secretary Of Education]
Under the Higher Education Act, students who were defrauded by for-profit colleges have access to relief from the loans they took out, but Secretary DeVos has failed to implement the law.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) questioned Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on the Department’s failure to provide relief for students defrauded by predatory for-profit colleges.

Under the Higher Education Act, students who were defrauded by for-profit colleges have access to relief from the loans they took out, but Secretary DeVos has failed to implement the law. Last week, DeVos disclosed that the credit reports of an additional 5,000 students who attended for-profit colleges were wrongly affected. The Department previously reported this number was over 900 students, while DeVos’s former deputy at the Department of Education has suggested that millions of students’ credit reports have been affected. During the hearing, Underwood pressed DeVos to commit that the Department of Education has discovered and corrected every unfair report on affected students’ credit, but DeVos was unable to do so.

“I’m concerned this group of students may just be the tip of the iceberg,” Underwood said. “You both have the responsibility and the existing authorities to do something about it. What we’re trying to determine is what’s the right number: Is it 900? Is it 5,000? Or is it millions of students?”

Underwood also shared the story of Illinois resident Naquasha Johnson who received a degree as a medical administrative assistant from the for-profit institution operated by Corinthian Colleges, Inc. Underwood highlighted that as a result of her school’s closure, Ms. Johnson was left with fraudulent student loans and a degree that cannot help her secure employment. Underwood shared that Ms. Johnson recently had a job offer rescinded because her credit report shows delinquent loans.

Underwood is the only Illinois member on the Committee on Education and Labor and is working to increase transparency and accountability within the Department of Education. In March, Underwood wrote to the former Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on the Department’s failure to appropriately respond to borrowers who default on their student loans. In the letter, Underwood demanded answers on behalf of borrowers experiencing unacceptably long hold times when contacting the Department to receive clear information about their financial options or reasonable options for getting their payments back on track.

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