House Democrats have failed to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a measure that would have undone the Department of Education’s tough policy of lending to students misled by for-profit colleges
House Democrats failed on Friday to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a measure that would have undone the Department of Education’s tough policy of lending to students misled by for-profit colleges.
The House of Representatives voted 238 to 173 for the repeal, missing the two-thirds majority required to send it to the Senate.
It’s a victory for Education Minister Betsy DeVos, whose student loan policy was jeopardized after Congress voted to overturn them in March. It now remains in place and comes into force on July 1st.
The measure passed by Congress in March would have restored a rule created by the Obama administration in 2016. The measure was approved by the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to repeal federal rules by a simple majority of both houses and the approval of the President.
While the original move was supported by both parties, only six Republicans voted in favor of lifting the veto, while 172 opposed it.
When the Democrats called for the repeal, the Democrats said the DeVos Rule made it nearly impossible for duped students to get loans canceled. They accused her of piling the rules in favor of the for-profit college industry, which has found an ally in the Trump administration.
But Republicans said the DeVos Rule was an improvement on Obama-era policies, which they believed allowed loan cancellations too easily.
“Massive lending has long been a Democratic goal, and the Obama rule was a giant step toward that goal. One that also ignored the high cost to taxpayers, ”said Virginia Foxx, RN.C., the senior Republican on the House of Representatives Education Committee.
The dispute stems from a policy known as Borrower Defense Against Repayment, which allows borrowers to cancel their federal student loans if their colleges lied to get them to enroll.
The rule was created in the 1990s but expanded under President Barack Obama after the collapse of the Corinthian colleges and other for-profit colleges that closed. Authorities said they made false claims about the success of their graduates.
Under the Obama-era rule, students could have loans waived if there was evidence of misrepresentation or breach of contract by the college. In the case of widespread fraud, entire groups of students could be acquitted with a single claim.
But DeVos halted the policy before it went into effect, saying it was making it too easy to take out loans. Last year DeVos replaced it with a new policy that protects taxpayers and colleges from frivolous claims.
Their rule sets a higher bar on claims and requires borrowers to prove that their schools knowingly misled them and caused personal financial harm. It also sets a deadline for entitlements that students may have up to three years after graduation or dropping out.
Other changes include the elimination of group claims and DeVos ended a provision that automatically canceled loans for students attending schools that were closed prior to graduation.
Their policies have been backed by Republicans and lobbyists from the for-profit college industry, who argue that they have been unfairly targeted by the Obama administration. However, Democrats and consumer advocates say the rule removes protection for duped students.
The Institute for College Access and Success said Friday that the rule will leave many scammed students behind in repaying their loans.
“The rule creates roadblocks for duped students in the midst of an economic and health crisis, while imposing next to no consequences on fraudulent colleges,” said James Kvaal, president of the nonprofit.
DeVos has been harshly criticized by the Democrats for her handling of the policy and a backlog in loan repossession claims. In April, DeVos said she would process more than 170,000 claims under settlement in a lawsuit alleging she illegally stopped the process while rewriting the rule.
On April 30, the agency announced that it has 130,000 pending claims out of a total of 318,000 claims received.
DeVos separately amended the policy to only provide partial loan relief for many students. Their update provides full relief only when students have attended programs that produce graduates with an average income that is well below that of graduates from similar programs. Other students get parts of their loans cleared. Consumer groups filed a lawsuit against the rule in June.