Maryland joins suit against U.S. Education Secretary over student loan repayments

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Attorneys General in 18 states, including Maryland, have filed suit against the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos in an attempt to keep in place rules that helped protect students from the predatory practices of some for-profit colleges.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh joined with others to allege that DeVos broke federal law by taking away the Borrower Defense Rule. The rule, written during the Obama administration, was created so that students who were defrauded could have their federal loans forgiven. The rule also gave the U.S. Department of Education the ability to get the amount of the loan back from the colleges.

The Borrower Defense Rule was set to take effect on July 1, but in June DeVos said she would delay portions of it.

In her announcement saying the rules would be delayed and rewritten, DeVos said they created “a muddled process that’s unfair to students and schools.”

Education Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill called the lawsuit by attorneys generals “ideologically driven” and said the now-delayed rules suffered from “substantive and procedural flaws” that need to be addressed.

“That is why the Secretary decided it was time to take a step back and hit pause on these regulations until this case has been decided in court and to make sure these rules achieve their purpose: helping harmed students,” Hill said in a statement.