Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been sued by Niesha Wright for suspending the borrower defense rules in June.
Earlier this month, Niesha Wright, a 40-year-old mother of two and resident of Portland, Oregon, filed a federal lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos after Sec. DeVos suspended the borrower defense rules that were put in place by the Obama administration.
Wright graduated from ITT Tech two months before the school was shut down in 2016. ITT Tech became defunct after the Department of Education under President Obama charged the for-profit school with putting students at financial risk.
Wright, who owes over $25,000 in student loans, applied for student loan forgiveness under the borrower defense rules put in place by the Obama administration. Those regulations were set to be implemented on July 1, 2017 and expanded the federal student loan forgiveness program to certain cases were for-profit colleges had defrauded students.
In June, DeVos suspended the borrower defense rules until a more thorough review could be done. In a statement announcing the suspension of the borrower defense rules, DeVos said, “Unfortunately, last year's rulemaking effort missed an opportunity to get it right. The result is a muddled process that's unfair to students and schools, and puts taxpayers on the hook for significant costs. It's time to take a step back and make sure these rules achieve their purpose: helping harmed students. It's time for a regulatory reset.”
Before receiving her associate’s degree from ITT Tech, Wright had only graduated from high school and believed that going back to school would open up more career opportunities. She actually tried to go back to ITT Tech for her bachelor’s degree only to discover that the school had closed its doors.
When she attempted to transfer her associate’s degree credit to another school’s program, she found out that they were non-transferrable. In fact, Niesha Wright stated in her lawsuit that the for-profit school left her with “worthless, non-transferable credits and a mountain of a student loan debt.”
The goal of Wright’s lawsuit is to end the DeVos-ordered suspension of the borrower defense rules and enable her to apply for forgiveness. "All I wish to gain is to be free and clear of a fraudulent school that preyed on the weak," Wright said.
The Student Loan Report has been staying on top of any and all news stories related to actions surrounding the borrower defense rules. In June, a federal court ruled that a single mother of four, whose wages were being garnished by the government over student loans she took out to attend a now-defunct college accused of fraud, was entitled to a speedy decision regarding whether her student loans were eligible to be forgiven.
In May, the U.S. Department of Education was in the process of contacting 5,700 former students who took out federal student loans between 2011 and 2014 to attended any college owned by Corinthian Colleges, Inc. Corinthian misrepresented post-graduation employment rates in order to get more students to enroll.
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