Durbin Statement On State AG's Suit Against Secretary DeVos' Failure To Enforce Gainful Employment Rule

Rule - Upheld By Multiple Federal Courts - Would Cut Off Federal Student Aid To Career Education Programs That Saddle Students With Too Much Debt

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) issued the following statement after 18 State Attorneys General, including Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, today filed suit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for her delay of and failure to enforce the Gainful Employment (GE) rule.  The GE rule is meant to ensure that career education programs prepare their students for jobs that allow them to earn enough to pay off the debt they accumulate to attend the program.  To determine whether career training programs are delivering on that promise for students, the Gainful Employment rule uses a debt-to-earnings metric. 

In August, in response to questions submitted by Durbin as part of the Senate Appropriations Committee's consideration of the fiscal year 2018 Department of Education budget proposal, Secretary DeVos revealed that the Department had made no progress toward generating 2017 debt-to-earnings data and had "no timetable" to do so.  Durbin’s question and Secretary DeVos’ response is part of the complaint filed by the State Attorneys General as evidence that the Department of Education is illegally refusing to enforce the rule.  

“In August 2017, despite her legal responsibility, Secretary DeVos admitted in a response to my written question that she had no intention of enforcing the Gainful Employment rule.  Instead, she continues to side with a for-profit college industry that enrolls nine percent of all post-secondary students, but takes in 17 percent of all federal student aid and accounts for 33 percent of all federal student loan defaults.  During her tenure, Secretary DeVos has orchestrated a corporate takeover of the Department of Education by for-profit colleges that puts students and taxpayers at great risk,” said Durbin.

In June, the U.S. Department of Education announced a year-long delay of the deadline by which schools must make disclosures to students under the GE rule.  It also delayed a deadline for schools to submit appeals.