Attorneys General from 19 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against Betsy DeVos and her Department of Education (DoE) after she ordered delays for student borrower defense rules slated for July 1, 2017. On Wednesday, the federal court ruled against the Trump administration official.
U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss ruled in favor of the Attorneys General. In his ruling, he stated:
"The Department [of Education]’s arguments to the contrary are unpersuasive... The Court, accordingly, concludes that the Department’s rationale for issuing the [delay] is arbitrary and capricious."
The judge also characterized DeVos's actions at the DoE as "unlawful" and "procedurally invalid." The rules, created during the Obama administration sought to protect students from predatory colleges.
The Obama administration expanded borrower defense rules based on an "unprecedented influx" of fraud allegations concerning the for-profit secondary school chain Corinthian Colleges. The online chain shut down in 2016 facing multiple charges of fraud.
Other predatory schools like ITT Tech and Trump University also promised much but delivered little while signing up students for loans and federal financial aid then collecting the money and running. Both schools shut their doors and in some cases paid hefty settlements for defrauding students.
Why would #BetsyDeVos work to make it easier to defraud students with #StudentLoans? Did #Trump tell her he wanted… https://t.co/oAJAxJ2kfj— Bob Krause (@Bob Krause) 1536804412.0
At the time of her decision to delay the student protections, DeVos called the rules a "muddled process that’s unfair to students and schools." Much of the Department's case hinged on rules being too hard to understand in the 8 months provided to become familiar with them.
But the judge’s ruling cited that inability by some to understand what others easily understood could not justify a delay in implementation.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey—one of the plaintiffs in the suit—celebrated the news on Twitter.
#BREAKING We just won our case against Betsy DeVos for illegally delaying protections for students cheated by preda… https://t.co/KyVuasU4M5— Maura Healey (@Maura Healey) 1536791139.0
A federal court agreed that the actions of @usdoegov are not only wrong, they are illegal. It is time for the… https://t.co/Ookwouc82N— Maura Healey (@Maura Healey) 1536791601.0
For years we’ve fought for needed protections for student borrowers. No matter what this administration throws at u… https://t.co/EGlprKocCB— Maura Healey (@Maura Healey) 1536792111.0
Betsy DeVos tried to take away important protections that kept students from getting ripped off by predatory for-pr… https://t.co/n4DlVceI3N— Maura Healey (@Maura Healey) 1536802731.0
Today’s decision in federal court is a victory for every family defrauded by a predatory for-profit school and a to… https://t.co/eE4kepOeup— Maura Healey (@Maura Healey) 1536795660.0
Other plaintiffs in the case joined her in celebrating.
BREAKING: We won our case challenging the Education Department's illegal delay of the borrower defense rule — a del… https://t.co/nABXJAAxGf— Public Citizen (@Public Citizen) 1536795392.0
#BREAKING: A huge win for students and taxpayers. The court decided in favor of CA, plus 18 states and DC in our la… https://t.co/g9T7SsH4KG— Xavier Becerra (@Xavier Becerra) 1536794967.0
Students cheated by deceptive for-profit schools deserve debt relief. It's on our leaders to push back & hold such… https://t.co/rYY3RBV1gH— AG Josh Shapiro (@AG Josh Shapiro) 1536791596.0
While observers praised the victory and raised other issues with DeVos' leadership at the Department of Education and with predatory colleges.
Billionaire DeVos had no experience with education, but gave large donations to several Trump causes leading up to and after the election.
@MassAGO @usdoegov Thank you! When for-profit colleges have graduation rates 30% lower than nonprofit schools and t… https://t.co/U6hE4pHxr9— Mike Nyerges (@Mike Nyerges) 1536848031.0
Students -1 @BetsyDeVos - 0 Just a word of advice Betsy...you're on the wrong side of this. You should be on the s… https://t.co/rXy5YniAKO— Joda Latour 🌹 (@Joda Latour 🌹) 1536849868.0
Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration postponed Obama-era protection of students from predatory practices of for… https://t.co/HC9u0wS2EA— Augie Ray (@Augie Ray) 1536848730.0
Student's rights: W DeVos/Predatory For-Profit Colleges: L It's a good day! https://t.co/9qYwPj3E9m— Arne Duncan (@Arne Duncan) 1536842503.0
A judge ruled that @BetsyDeVosED's delay of the Borrower Defense rule is unlawful. This is an important victory for… https://t.co/GYFAI2sl6Y— Mark Takano (@Mark Takano) 1536849606.0
This ruling is a victory for students everywhere––but we can be sure that this administration will continue to empo… https://t.co/GQIhMp6f8U— Kara Eastman (@Kara Eastman) 1536844800.0
The U.S. District judge sided with 20 @DemocraticAGs who argued in a lawsuit against @BetsyDeVosED that DOE violate… https://t.co/ALLgm2l963— Democratic AGs (@Democratic AGs) 1536812428.0
Big deal for for-profit school fraudsters and a big loss for @BetsyDeVosED https://t.co/vi0mHwGHIS— Andrew Feinberg (@Andrew Feinberg) 1536850793.0
Our Secretary of Education tried to remove a program that forgives student loans for victims of sham for-profit sch… https://t.co/nJkpF3djvO— Renee Hoagenson 🌊 #DemCast (@Renee Hoagenson 🌊 #DemCast) 1536811543.0
Like any parent, I lay awake worrying about my two kids while they're away at college. But with Trump and Betsy DeV… https://t.co/XzupMXzDAT— Attorney General Kwame Raoul (@Attorney General Kwame Raoul) 1536455557.0
DeVos did not address the loss on Twitter. Neither did the President.