Federal Court Rules Betsy DeVos’ Plan to Delay Obama Era Rule to Protect Student Borrowers Is ‘Illegal’

Whoa.

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.

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.

Other plaintiffs in the case joined her in celebrating.

While observers praised the victory and raised other issues with DeVos’ leadership at the Department of Education and with predatory colleges.

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