U.S. Secretary of Education Facing Lawsuit Over Student Loan Protection Suspension

26 July 17

Student Loan Protection Suspension

Neisha Wright, 40, said she graduated from ITT Technical Institute, a new defunct for-profit university, that left her with a plethora of student loan debt and useless, non-transferable credits. Wright said she started ITT Tech in September 2014 and graduated in June 2016, two months before it was shut down by the previous administration’s Education Department.

The agency accused ITT of putting students in dire financial straits and ordered it not to accept any new students getting federal financial aid.

Wright said she applied for the debt forgiveness of $25,000 in loans she took out to pay for her studies. She said the Obama-era regulations were expanded to include students like her where for-profit colleges defrauded students.
DeVos had suspended those protections, saying it muddled the process that wasn’t fair for either students or schools, and taxpayers would have to assume the debt.

Wright said she was extremely upset by the decision – to get some relief from the debt she amassed. She said to come from a woman who never needed financial aid makes the whole thing worse.

In June, DeVos said she was suspending the protections to ensure the rules attained the purpose they existed for – to help injured students. She said the Department’s goal is to shield students from school’s predatory practices and to offer translucent, fair rules that universities must follow.

Wright said her goal was to return to school to better her career opportunities. When she tried to re-enroll in September 2016, for her bachelor’s degree, she learned the school was no longer in existence. And, she learned that none of the credits she earned were transferrable. Wright said she feels like the school preyed on her for her lack of knowledge in the school system.
Wright hopes her lawsuit will stop the suspension so that she and others can ask for debt forgiveness. She said all she wants is to be rid of the debt that came from the fraudulent school that exploited the weak.

Wright’s suit follows 19 Democratic attorney generals’ suit that demanded the Secretary of Education to unsuspend the regulations.