LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is suing U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education for its changing of student loan borrower defense laws. The new regulations appear to benefit for-profit schools at the expense of defrauded students, Nessel’s office said Thursday.
The 2016 borrower regulations helped borrowers who had been defrauded by for-profit schools get relief from federal student loans, according to a news release.
Under DeVos, the Department of Education repealed those regulations, which also rolled back measures to oversee these schools.
The lawsuit, announced Wednesday and which 22 other attorneys general have also joined, argues that the repeal violates the Administrative Procedure Act.
According to Nessel’s office, the repeal wasn’t made through reasoned decision-making and doesn’t comply with the Higher Education Act, which calls for “a meaningful process for borrowers to obtain relief.”
“We have seen thousands of Michiganders fall victim to the misconduct of for-profit institutions,” Nessel said. “That is reason alone to join in this fight.”
U.S. Department of Education Press Secretary Angela Morabito denounced the lawsuit.
“This is yet another grandstanding, politically driven lawsuit meant to grab a cheap headline, and the media seems to always oblige,” Morabito said. “To any objective observer, our borrower defense rule clearly protects students from fraud, ensures they are entitled to financial relief if they suffered harm and holds schools accountable.”