Sweet V. DeVos

Supporting Statements



“Secretary DeVos is continuing to ignore tens of thousands of students who have waited years for the relief they deserve. It’s time for the U.S. Department of Education to stop protecting predatory for-profit schools and follow the law. We thank the Project for bringing this lawsuit on behalf of defrauded students and families.” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey

“For far too long, the Department of Education under the failed leadership of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has refused to process claims of nearly 160,000 former students who where defrauded and cheated by predatory for-profit colleges. These colleges have had a long history of preying on the hopes and dreams of students trying to better themselves through a higher education. Instead of living up to that promise, these schools have left students with the financial and emotional burden of massive student debt. This important suit will bring students one step closer to the justice they deserve and the debt cancellation they are entitled to under federal law.” Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley 




“Students defrauded by for-profit colleges should not face financial ruin armed with only a hollow degree blessed by a passive Education Department. If Secretary DeVos believes there’s no urgency in granting these students the relief they are entitled to, then our legal system must fill the void. Every single day that this financial burden rests on students’ shoulders is another day of justice deferred.” Congressman Joe Kennedy III

“The message to the Department of Education in today’s lawsuit is clear: follow the law and make these students whole. Secretary DeVos has a responsibility to ensure institutions of higher education do not defraud our students, but if they do, the Secretary is also required to provide those students relief. But the Secretary and predatory for-profit colleges are leaving students on the hook for massive amounts of student debt that ought to be eliminated. Even worse, DeVos’s Department has continually undermined the Borrower Defense Rule every step of the way—through endless delays and attempts to rewrite it. That is why I am proud to support this lawsuit, and I urge Secretary DeVos to step up and do her job.” Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.


“Protecting students who were defrauded by abusive colleges is supposed to be a critical function of the Department of Education. Under Secretary Betsy DeVos, that duty has fallen by the wayside. By ignoring the claims of 158,000 victims of fraud, Secretary DeVos is jeopardizing their financial futures. It is time for the Department to make those students whole again. This lawsuit sends the Secretary and institutions operating in bad faith a message: Fraud in higher education won’t be tolerated,” Congresswoman Lori Trahan

“Predatory for-profit colleges have a demonstrated history of unscrupulous practices, and students that have been defrauded by these institutions deserve relief.  It is unacceptable that Betsy DeVos and Diane Auer Jones have refused to process claims in over a year as families continue to financially suffer under the strain of predatory loans.  I applaud and commend the Project’s effort to bring about justice and make these students whole again.” Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy


“Once a source of pride, my education quickly became a ruinous source of both personal and financial stress. I know that hundreds of former Brooks Students have filed for Borrowers Defense to Repayment, and that number is sure to grow. But leaders at the Department of Education sit on their hands and actively prevent us from seeking redress.”

Theresa Sweet, former Brooks Institute student

“This has put my whole life on hold. I can’t sign for home, a car, anything because I don’t know what’s going to happen to this debt. It’s extremely stressful and impacts my whole family. It’s beyond disappointing. The Department of Education did nothing to stop these schools from doing this in the first place and now they are ignoring those of us who were cheated on their watch.”

Jessica Jacobson, former NEIA student

"Secretary DeVos wants to delay justice because she wants to deny justice. The Department of Education has created a generation of debtors made poor through the business of for-profit education, and former students continue to suffer the consequences. Many have been refused housing or been turned away from jobs because of their debt-to-income ratio or because of a ruined credit score. Debtors are not waiting for justice. As members of the Debt Collective, they have been organizing, pushing back, and demanding relief. Now they take their fight to the courts. Since the Department of Education is unwilling to discharge fraudulent debts, the justice system must make them do it."  Debt Collective

"At every turn, Betsy DeVos has sided with predatory schools over students," said Seth Frotman, Executive Director of the Student Borrower Protection Center. "Thankfully, the Project on Predatory Student Lending is taking action to help thousands of student borrowers who have been denied their right to relief after being defrauded by for-profit colleges. These borrowers are entitled under the law to have their debts cancelled, but this Department of Education has turned its back on them. This lawsuit gives borrowers a champion back in their corner." Seth Frotman, Student Borrower Protection Center

“Betsy DeVos seems determined to protect the worst predatory for-profit colleges, but the Project on Predatory Student Lending, I know, is even more determined to fight for the rights of students ripped off by these schools.  The Project's lawyers have beaten DeVos in court before, and in this critical dispute over DeVos's starkly illegal refusal to grant debt relief to tens of thousands of former students, they can beat her again.” David Halperin, attorney, Washington DC, and writer, Republic Report

“More than 158,000 borrowers from predatory for-profit colleges remain on the hook for federal student loans, despite submitting claims to the Department of Education for the cancellation they are legally owed. The Department’s ongoing refusal to process these claims not only ignores the harm caused by illegal actions at schools like the now-bankrupt Corinthian and ITT, it continues to burden wronged borrowers who don’t have the luxury of time to waste. Borrowers who lost years of their lives to schools that defrauded them continue to be harmed by inaction and delay by the Department. The Department must immediately process these claims, discharging the debt in full, so that borrowers can finally start to have a chance at a fresh start.” Alexis Goldstein, Americans for Financial Reform

“The Department of Education’s failure to act on over 158,000 student borrower claims unjustifiably abandons our most vulnerable students, particularly low-income students of color. Predatory for-profit colleges disproportionately target, mislead, and cheat Black and Latino students. By turning a blind eye to such students, the Department effectively ignores -- and exacerbates -- the acute harms shouldered by countless students of color who have been wrongly defrauded. Such inaction only serves to worsen racial disparities in wealth, educational opportunity, and economic security. This is not acceptable. Today’s lawsuit rightly calls on the Department to fulfill its legal obligation to protect all students, including students of color, and ensure education is a ladder to opportunity and not a debt trap.” Genevieve Bonadies Torres, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

“Higher education is supposed to be an engine of mobility, yet predatory institutions have continued to cash checks from students and taxpayers without any intention of providing that opportunity, leaving masses of students in serious debt with no degree and no path forward. Organizations like the Project on Predatory Student Lending are stepping up to do what the federal government should have done in the first place: ensuring that former students who were defrauded by federally-funded institutions are made whole and that those who perpetrated fraud are held accountable for these deceitful actions. We hope the Department of Education will act swiftly to right this wrong and prioritize the needs of students over predatory institutions.” Third Way

“I was doing the online program when the school basically ghosted me - I couldn’t get back into the website, nobody would answer my calls or emails. When I tried to transfer to a local community college, they wouldn’t accept any of my credits. All I got from them was $36,000 in debt from them and nothing to show for it. My finances and credit are completely ruined. I can’t get a car loan and I regularly get messages threatening to garnish my wages. It’s been almost 15 years of this stress. I’ve been patient, but I’m ready to fight back now. This is wrong and it’s not fair. These loans should be erased.”

Alicia Davis, former Florida Metropolitan University (bought by Corinthian Colleges) student

“This debt affects everything - my willingness and ability to buy a house, get married, start a family - it puts your whole life on hold. The government found that these companies were crooks and sued them. It should be a no-brainer that these loans are forgiven, but because of shameless greed, they are still trying to collect.”

Dan Deegan, former DeVry University student

"The veterans we serve are understandably angry when a predatory college scams them out of their GI Bill and then Betsy DeVos leaves their plea for help sitting in the cold. We have veterans who served their country honorably and are now waiting three and four years for their government to even respond to their legitimate complaints of fraud." Carrie Wofford, Veterans Education Success

“It is long past time to take action on behalf of over 158,000 students whose futures are being held hostage by the Department of Education’s failure to act.  When colleges mislead students or violate state law, there is no excuse to leave students in limbo rather than cancel their debts. We commend the Project on Predatory Lending for taking this step on behalf of these students.” James Kvaal, President, The Institute for College Access and Success

"Last October a federal court ordered the Department of Education to end its unlawful delay of the borrower defense rules, but the Department has not resolved a single borrower defense claim under those rules since then. The Department's refusal to implement the rules and decide borrowers' claims for relief is not only an affront to the rule of law, but a devastating blow to the 158,000 student loan borrowers who have been waiting for as many as four years for a decision on whether their loans will be cancelled. In the meantime, borrowers who were cheated into taking on this debt by predatory schools are left in limbo or worse -- facing mounting loan balances, payments they cannot afford, damaged credit, and, for borrowers in default, inability to access federal student aid to restart their education at a quality school." Abby Shafroth, attorney at the National Consumer Law Center

"If the U.S. Department of Education will not do the right thing by providing defrauded borrowers with the relief they need and deserve, the courts need to act. Time and again, Secretary DeVos has revealed herself to be hostile to the veterans and disadvantaged students who were cheated by their colleges. It is clear that she has no intention of providing these students with the loan cancellation they are entitled to. It is time to force her hand." Bob Shireman, The Century Foundation.

“It’s far past time for borrowers whose schools take advantage of them to get relief. The executives who ripped these students off have already walked away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. The Department of Education needs to end these illegal delays and attempts to nickel and dime away needed help through nonsensical formulas.” Ben Miller, Center for American Progress