The Borrower Defense to Repayment Rule (BD Rule) protected students and taxpayers against school fraud and abrupt closures and ensured that predatory schools were held accountable to taxpayers. In 2019 this important protection for students was repealed by the Trump Administration and replaced by a process that will result in just 3 cents of every dollar borrowed being forgiven. Colleges, meanwhile, will repay only about a penny for every dollar of loans stemming from illegal misconduct such as fraud.
Numerous investigations by state and federal law enforcement, including a bipartisan 49 state Attorneys General settlement with Career Education Corporation (Perdecho), and a record-breaking settlement between the University of Phoenix and the FTC, both in 2019, have detailed widespread misconduct and lies by schools that preyed on students’ dreams of improving their lives through education but instead left them with worthless degrees and thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech are examples: the schools deceived students by providing false information about the value of their degrees, all while raking in billions in student aid dollars before abruptly closing.
The 2016 “Borrower Defense” rule protected students and taxpayers by:
- Creating a process for defrauded borrowers to apply for loan forgiveness they are entitled to seek under the Higher Education Act;
- Ensuring students at closed schools get the relief afforded them under law by automatically forgiving their loans if they do not complete their studies; and
- Protecting students and taxpayers by requiring the riskiest schools to warn students and to put money aside to cover the cost if their students’ loans are forgiven.
The 2019 DeVos rule makes it virtually impossible for students to obtain loan forgiveness or taxpayers to recover against predatory colleges. The rule:
- Makes it impossible for students to seek forgiveness even when the misconduct is not discovered or made public for several years.
- Requires every student to pursue forgiveness individually even if the school’s misconduct is the same.
- Makes it impossible for students at closed schools to automatically have loans forgiven.
- Requires students to demonstrate harm above and beyond the student loans.
Borrower Defense Media Coverage
- House to vote to overturn DeVos’ ‘borrower defense’ rule
Bianca Quilantan, Politico
January 16, 2020
- DeVos Defends Restricting Debt Relief for Bilked Students
Erica Green, The New York Times
December 12, 2019
- Defrauded by colleges, students wait in vain for federal help
Lara Korte, The Statesman
September 7, 2019
- Education Department Has Stalled on Debt Relief for Defrauded Students
Erica Green, The New York Times
April 5, 2019
- DeVos cancels nearly $11 million in student loans that the Education Dept. sent to unaccredited for-profit colleges
Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, The Washington Post
November 8, 2019
- Delayed Obama-Era Rule on Student Debt Relief Is to Take Effect
Stacy Cowley, The New York Times
October 16, 2018
Borrower Defense Posts
- Top 10 Ways the New Borrower Defense Rule is Worse for Borrowers
- Defrauded Students Left Holding the Bag Under Final “Borrower Defense” Rule
- The Borrower Defense Rule and Its Importance to Veterans
Who Supports Borrower Defense
- Coalition Letter from 80 Organizations to Secretary DeVos Urging the Department to Implement a Strong Borrower Defense Rule
- Coalition Letter 27 Veterans Organizations Seeking Strong Borrower Defense Rule
- 57 organizations released a letter supporting the Durbin-Lee efforts so that students who were fraudulently deceived or whose schools engaged in other illegal conduct can access relief from their student debts
- 37 Veterans and Military Service Organizations write Congress to share our priorities for Higher Education Act reauthorization