Recently, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been trying to reroute pandemic financial aid promised by the federal government. Instead of sending the assistance to public schools, DeVos has prioritized initiatives sending the money to private schools.
In September 2020, a District Court judge shot these efforts down.
Judge Dabney Friedrich noted that DeVos's efforts were in direct contrast to the substantive aims of the CARES Act. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that DeVos has tried to push legislation that would “redirect or restrict” CARES Act funding.
Recent Actions by the Department of Education Blocked by State Judges
In Massachusetts, the Department of Education tried to restrict how colleges could mete out pandemic relief to their students based on United States citizenship. DeVos defended this attempt, as well as similar attempts in California and Washington, by focusing on protection for citizens: “U.S. taxpayers have long supported U.S. students pursuing higher education, and this rule simply ensures the continuity of that well-established policy.”
In these cases, the judges disagreed with her efforts. They blocked these decisions.
DeVos has not had much luck over recent months in pushing her desired legislation through. In June of 2020, DeVos failed to cancel the student loan debt of students who had fallen victim to fraudulent, predatory for-profit schools. Under the Borrower Defense to Repayment program, these students deserved relief. DeVos received a formal rebuke from a federal judge because she did not cancel the loans in a timely manner.
The Department of Education has also attracted lawsuits and negative press for claiming an inability to process tens of thousands of stalled applications for financial aid. DeVos has rejected many applications, potentially “without evidence or any identifiable legal basis.” Federal judges have ordered DeVos to provide more information. Allegedly, DeVos has also participated in the illegal garnishment of student loan borrower's wages, as well as the unlawful seizure of federal tax refunds.
In most cases, these lawsuits are ongoing or awaiting formal comment from the Department of Education.
The Most Recent Setback for DeVos
In September of 2020, Devos suffered another defeat. In 2019, the Department of Education repealed an Obama-era Gainful Employment rule. This rule required colleges to ensure that their various educational programs actually prepared students for “decent-paying jobs after graduation.” This year, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and Student Defense decided to challenge that action. When DeVos instantly sought dismissal of that challenge, a federal judge rejected DeVos's request. Now, the AFT can pursue claims that DeVos's Gainful Employment repeal was unfair and even, perhaps, illegal.
If you believe that recent legislative actions have placed you or your student in an undesired position, know that you might be able to take steps to protect your future now. Fortunately, you don't need to do this alone. Attorney Joseph D. Lento will be able to help you work towards a favorable outcome. Call the Lento Law Firm and our team of legal professionals today for assistance by calling 888-535-3686.