Attorney General Tong Sues to Stop Trump Administration’s Illegal Elimination of Critical Regulatory Safeguards for Students(Hartford, CT) - Attorney General William Tong joined 19 attorneys general filing suit today against U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to stop the elimination of critical protections for students considering enrolling in for-profit colleges and vocational schools.
The Higher Education Act provides that all for-profit schools, all vocational schools, and non-degree programs at all other schools should “prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.”
For years, for-profit and vocational colleges -- such as Trump University -- engaged in deceptive marketing, fraudulent and other abusive practices to convince students to enroll in useless academic and training programs. Those practices left students across the country with piles of student loan debt and no jobs to pay off that debt.
In 2014, the Department of Education issued a rule requiring the worst offending programs to warn students about the dangers of enrolling and ultimately would have made those same programs ineligible to enroll students using federal financial aid.
In a new “Repeal Rule” set to take effect next week, the Department of Education has rescinded the 2014 Rule’s protections, which is a license for for-profit colleges and vocational schools to exploit students' ambition and eligibility for federal student loans.
“For years, certain for-profit colleges saddled students with unaffordable debt while offering nothing but useless training and no pathway to meaningful employment. The 2014 Gainful Employment Rule required these schools to disclose accurate information about students’ post-graduate employment and shut off federal financial aid to the worst offenders. Repealing this provision is nothing more than a taxpayer handout to the for-profit education industry, at the expense of students’ futures and dreams,” said Attorney General Tong. “Like so much of the Trump Administration’s rule making, the Department of Education ignored federal procedures in pushing this destructive repeal. Our lawsuit seeks to protect students and our public education investments by blocking this arbitrary and capricious rule.”
The states allege that Education Secretary DeVos’ “decision to repeal the GE Rule without promulgating any alternative standard for implementing the Higher Education Act’s Gainful Employment provision is arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law … and must be set aside.”
Attorney General Tong is joining the lawsuit, which is being co-led with Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Attorney General Tong is joining the lawsuit, which is being co-led with Pennsylvania, Maryland, Colorado, and New Jersey, along with Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Assistant Attorneys General John Langmaid and Joseph J. Chambers, head of the Finance Department, assisted Attorney General Tong with this matter.