ALBANY – New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood, as part of a coalition of 21 attorneys general, formally opposed U.S Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ plan to eliminate the Gainful Employment Rule, which the coalition says is a critical federal protection for students who attend for-profit educational institutions.
In formal comments filed with the U.S. Department of Education today, the Attorneys General argue that Secretary DeVos’ plan to eliminate the Gainful Employment Rule violates the Department’s legal obligations and disregards strong evidence that accountability standards are needed to protect students and taxpayers who interact with these for-profit schools – and often find themselves mired in onerous debt.
“The Trump-DeVos Department of Education continues to put special interests ahead of the students they’re supposed to serve – and our coalition of Attorneys General will continue to fight back,” said Attorney General Underwood. “The Gainful Employment Rule plays a vital role in ensuring students can make informed decisions about their education, rather than leaving them with a mountain of debt. By seeking to eliminate the rule, Secretary DeVos is willfully allowing students to be left vulnerable to exploitation and fraud by deceptive for-profit colleges.”
“Secretary DeVos and the Trump Administration’s move to eliminate the Gainful Employment Rule is another attempt to prioritize deceptive, for-profit colleges over students working to earn an education,” added Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro. “The Gainful Employment Rule shields students from fraudulent education programs that leave them buried under debt they are unable to repay. Repealing it is an attack on students, their families and consumers, and I am fighting to keep these protections in place for Pennsylvania’s students. If Betsy DeVos won’t protect our college students, I will.”
Secretary DeVos’ proposal to rescind the Gainful Employment Rule comes less than a year after a coalition of 19 Attorneys General sued DeVos and the Department of Education for violating federal law by refusing to enforce this rule. That lawsuit remains pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The coalition was led by Shapiro and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and includes the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.