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Wippman Op-ed Critiques DeVos Loan Formula


David Wippman.
David Wippman.  Photo: Nancy L. Ford

Betsy DeVos is giving defrauded student debtors the back of her hand,” an essay co-written by President David Wippman and Professor of American Studies Glenn Altschuler in The Hill, highlights how difficult Secretary of Education DeVos has made it for these students to seek debt relief. Just two weeks after their op-ed was published, the Education Department released a new, “complicated sliding scale” on which defrauded students’ relief is calculated using group earnings data.

Their Nov. 25 essay begins, “From the day she took office as Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos has tried to make it more difficult for students to free themselves from loan obligations incurred on the basis of false promises by college recruiters about educational services, the likelihood of earning credits transferrable to other institutions, post-graduate employment, and salary prospects. With the publication of a new Department of Education regulation, which promises to save taxpayers more than $11 billion, DeVos is giving these young men and women the back of her hand.”

On Dec. 11, The New York Times further affirmed Wippman and Altschuler’s position with this report on the Education Department’s most recent press release, “Thousands of students who took out federal loans to attend schools that lured them with fraudulent claims will still have to repay a portion of their debts, the Education Department said Tuesday — a new attempt to water down a loan-forgiveness program that the department’s leader has long deplored.”

Wippman and Altschuler detail the hurdles that Devos has placed in the path of defrauded student borrowers during her tenure. “Secretary DeVos’ embrace of a simplistic version of caveat emptor ignores the fact that predatory schools target unsophisticated and vulnerable populations who lack financial resources and desperately seek an education that will prepare them for a meaningful career.

“Defrauded student debtors are victims. They — and not the victimizers — deserve protection from the Department of Education.”

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