Update | How It Feels When Students Stand Up to the Department of Education and Win
October 2, 2018
Meaghan Bauer knew something was wrong, so she stood up and fought back. As a result, she’s helping protect thousands of other students’ rights to borrower defense.
Meaghan Bauer and Stephen Del Rose, former students of EDMC-owned New England Institute of Art, were cheated by their school and left with a massive pile of debt.
Like the hundreds of thousands of students who were cheated by predatory for-profit colleges, they trusted in institutions like their school and their government. Their school not only let them down, but actively misled, cheated and harmed them. Then, the Department of Education doubled down on that harm. Under Betsy DeVos, the Department repeatedly delayed the implementation of a new Borrower Defense rule, which offered critical protections for students and would have allowed them to bring their case against their school to court on behalf of a class.
Meaghan and Stephen fought back. They filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of Education for illegally delaying a rule intended to protect borrowers’ rights. And this month, a federal judge agreed – ruling that the Department of Education broke the law when it delayed the rule.
When she learned of the ruling, Meaghan Bauer was elated. But despite her happiness about winning a major victory for students, Meaghan was still angry. She said:
“We are supposed to be able to trust our government and know that when they make a new policy it is with our best interests in mind. It is really sad that the government dragged this out for so long and acted so childishly that they needed a judge to tell them that what they are doing is illegal. I hope this ruling reminds the government of its obligation to care for its citizens who are the future of this country, instead of focusing on lining the pockets of for profit institutions. They should admit they were wrong and take the necessary actions to remedy their policies and reestablish some of the faith in our government that has been lost.”
Meaghan and Stephen are represented by the Project on Predatory Student Lending and Public Citizen. Click here to read more about their case.