Durbin Joins Colleagues To Introduce Series Of NDAA Amendments To Protect Service Members And Veterans From Predatory For-Profit College Practices

Senators Highlight Need For Additional Protections In Light Of President Trump's Recent Veto of Bipartisan Measure To Protect Defrauded Student Borrowers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to file a series of amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to protect service members and veterans from predatory higher education practices.

The Senators’ amendments come as for-profit colleges have seen an uptick in enrollment due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, making it more important than ever to hold predatory institutions accountable. The push also follows President Trump's veto of Durbin’s bipartisan CRA resolution that would have overturned the Department of Education’s rewritten “borrower defense” rule. The DeVos borrower defense rule makes it impossible for defrauded borrowers—including veterans—to get the relief they are owed and would lessen accountability for the schools that defraud borrowers.

“The for-profit college industry is notorious for preying on our servicemembers and veterans and defrauding them into a lifetime of debt. I’m proud to join my Senate colleagues on these amendments to help stop for-profit colleges from targeting the brave men and women who have served our country,” said Durbin.

All four of the amendments were introduced jointly by Durbin, Hassan, Brown, and Warren.

Three of the four amendments were also provisions that were included the PROTECT Students Act, which was introduced by Hassan and Durbin and cosponsored by Brown and Warren. This includes an amendment led by Durbin would close the 90/10 loophole that allows for-profit colleges to receive up to 100 percent of their revenue straight from federal taxpayers by enrolling large numbers of veterans and service members. Durbin also led an amendment – separate from the PROTECT Students Act provisions – to help service members easily access information on whether an institution of higher education is under federal or state investigation.  Hassan also led an amendment to reestablish the ability of individuals to anonymously report complaints of fraud and abuse in federal financial aid programs through the Federal Student Aid’s Feedback System. It also includes an amendment led by Brown to stop for-profit colleges from using taxpayer dollars for marketing, advertising, or recruiting.

Last year, the Senators also raised concerns about Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s decision to restore the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools' (ACICS) status as a federally-recognized accreditor, despite reports that the organization has a long track record of failing to hold schools accountable for wrongdoing.