23 AGs sue DeVos over student loan forgiveness policy

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks at a press conference with Vice President Mike Pence in Tiger Stadium, on the LSU campus, in Baton Rouge, La., Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks at a press conference with Vice President Mike Pence in Tiger Stadium, on the LSU campus, in Baton Rouge, La., Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Democratic attorneys general in more than 20 states sued Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday, seeking to repeal her overhaul of a student loan forgiveness program.

Congress voted to strike down her policy, which makes it more difficult to get federal student loans erased, but President Donald Trump saved it through a veto.

Led by California and Massachusetts, a coalition of 22 states and the District of Columbia are challenging DeVos' policy in a federal suit filed in San Francisco. They say DeVos violated federal rules by issuing her policy without justification, and they say her rules fail to create a meaningful process for defrauded students to get their federal loans forgiven.

The suit seeks to have DeVos' policy repealed and replaced by an earlier rule created under former President Barack Obama.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra alleges that DeVos rewrote the rule to protect predatory for-profit colleges, adding that her update makes it nearly impossible for cheated students to get their federal loans forgiven.

“They rigged the system against students, flat and simple,” Becerra said in a call with reporters.

The Education Department called the case “another grandstanding, politically driven lawsuit meant to grab a cheap headline.”

“To any objective observer, our borrower defense rule clearly protects students from fraud, ensures they are entitled to financial relief if they suffered harm and holds schools accountable,” department spokeswoman Angela Morabito said in a statement.