In Less than 24 Hours, More than 200 Students Submit Testimony In Lawsuit Against DeVos & Department of Education | Press Release
June 26, 2019
Update: As of Friday, June 28, more than 300 students have submitted testimony.
More students urged to lend their voices to this case by submitting testimony for use in litigation;
Members of Congress, Advocates & Organizations also Help Boost Lawsuit
Jamaica Plain, MA – In less than 24 hours, more than 200 former students who were defrauded by abusive for-profit colleges and are seeking debt relief have already submitted testimony to be used as part of a new lawsuit filed yesterday against the U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education.
In the lawsuit, 158,000 defrauded former for-profit college students sued DeVos and the Department seeking to force the agency to follow existing law and issue the debt relief to which the former students are entitled. As part of the filing, the Project on Predatory Student Lending, along with Housing & Economic Rights Advocates (HERA), urged students still waiting for debt relief to support the lawsuit by submitting written testimony.
“The overwhelming response from students so far has been inspiring,” Project on Predatory Student Lending Legal Director Eileen Connor said. “The Department’s refusal to process these claims and cancel their loans has had such a negative impact on students across the country. They feel the urgency of this situation and they are making their voices heard. Every submission we receive counts in this case, and we urge even more students and former students to continue to lend their voices by submitting testimony to us. Their stories can make a difference.”
Eligible students and former students who would like to submit testimony to be used in the litigation can do so by filling out a simple online form at the Project’s website here. The Project is specifically seeking testimony from those who were cheated by for-profit colleges and are awaiting the Department’s decision on their borrower defense claims.
In addition to the overwhelming response from students, following the announcement of the lawsuit, many members of Congress, advocates, and organizations helped spread the word about the case through statements and posts on social media. Click here to view statements of support for the lawsuit from students, elected officials, and organizations.
The case, Sweet v DeVos, was filed yesterday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in the San Francisco Bay Area. The plaintiffs, represented by the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard’s Legal Services Center along with Housing & Economic Rights Advocates(HERA), are suing on behalf of a class of more than 158,000 former students who have filed applications for borrower defense to repayment. As the complaint states, the Department of Education is intentionally ignoring students’ borrower defense claims, has taken no action to resolve them, and in many instances, forcibly collects loans in spite of the students’ claims that the loans are not valid.
The former students are pressing Secretary DeVos and the Department to follow the law and immediately process their claims for debt relief. The Department has not processed a single claim in over a year and many of these students and former students have been waiting over four years for resolution. The Department’s inaction comes after it issued these predatory loans in the first place, using taxpayer dollars, and despite known fraudulent conduct by for-profit colleges.
For more information on the case and the Department’s refusal to live up to its legal obligations on behalf of students, please visit here.
About the Project on Predatory Student Lending
Established in 2012, the Project on Predatory Student Lending represents former students of predatory for-profit colleges. Its mission is to litigate to make it legally and financially impossible for federally-funded predatory schools to cheat students and taxpayers. 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.
Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA) is a California statewide, not-for-profit legal service and advocacy organization dedicated to helping Californians — particularly those most vulnerable — build a safe, sound financial future, free of discrimination and economic abuses, in all aspects of household financial concerns. It provides free legal services, consumer workshops, training for professionals and community organizing support, creates innovative solutions and engages in policy work locally, statewide and nationally.