Advocates and Borrowers Raise Significant Concerns as ED Declines to Name For-Profit College Borrowers to Rulemaking Committee on Borrower Defense | Press Release
September 28, 2021
BOSTON – The Project on Predatory Student Lending today raised significant concerns that the U.S. Department of Education has failed to select any former for-profit college borrowers for its negotiated rulemaking committee, including rejecting a nominee with the support of more than 1,200 former for-profit college students – the very people who have been most significantly harmed by the broken borrower defense process.
Theresa Sweet, a former student of the notorious Brooks Institute of Photography (owned by Perdoceo, formerly Career Education Corporation) who experienced the injustices of this process up close and has advocated on behalf of defrauded student borrowers, garnered over 1,200 signatures from similarly situated borrowers yet was not selected by the Department to represent borrowers in the rulemaking.
Ms. Sweet’s nomination was submitted by The Project on Predatory Student Lending, with the additional endorsement of the Education Trust, The Institute for College Access and Success, Student Borrower Protection Center, and New America Higher Education Program. In addition to these organizations, more than 1,200 student borrowers, who borrowed federal student loans to attend over a dozen predatory for-profit colleges from across the country (ITT, Art Institutes, Corinthian Colleges, Brooks Institute of Photography and more), signed on to this nomination in support of Ms. Sweet as their voice in this process.
Statement from Theresa Sweet
“I was honored to be nominated for this rulemaking committee, and especially to have the support of more than 1,200 of my peers, as we have been battling this broken process together for years. l always tell people to remain hopeful, and felt that things were finally changing under this administration, but I’m honestly crestfallen by this outcome and it makes it much more difficult to keep the faith. I am very worried about what will happen to those of us still waiting for our borrower defense claims to be fairly decided, and I fear for future students who will be cheated by their schools, through no fault of their own, if our experiences are not represented as a primary voice in the negotiating process.”
Statement from Eileen Connor, Director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending
“Borrowers who were cheated by predatory for-profit colleges have been battling an unfair, deeply flawed borrower defense process for years, with their rights consistently ignored by the Department of Education. It is extremely concerning that the Department is once again choosing to ignore the voices of those who have been most severely impacted by its broken policy. Failing to include Theresa Sweet, or any former for-profit college student, as part of this rulemaking committee adds insult to the already significant harm that has been caused due to the Department’s repeated failures on borrower defense.”
About the Project on Predatory Student Lending
Established in 2012, the Project on Predatory Student Lending of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School represents former students of the predatory for-profit college industry. Its mission is to litigate to make it legally and financially impossible for the for-profit college industry to cheat students, and to relieve borrowers from fraudulent student loan debt. The Project has brought a wide variety of cases on behalf of former students of for-profit colleges. It has sued the federal Department of Education for its failures to meet its legal obligation to police this industry and stop the perpetration and collection of fraudulent student loan debt.