Iowa's Attorney General Joins Suit Against U.S. Ed Secretary

Oct 18, 2017

A group of state attorneys general, including Iowa's Tom Miller, are suing U.S. Education Sec. Betsy DeVos and her department for what they say is a failure to enforce a rule that protects student borrowers from predatory for-profit schools.

The Obama administration established the Gainful Employment Rule, which has a key provision prohibiting programs at for-profit colleges from receiving federal student loan money if the debt loads of graduates are too high for their earnings. Barring access to federal loans ultimately leads to the dissolution of these programs. 

DeVos has delayed the rule’s implementation saying it needs to be reworked. But Miller argues this is a backdoor tactic to eliminate a policy she doesn’t support.  

"If she wants to do away with the rule, she has to go through the rulemaking process and do a new rule, and have hearings and comments, and have rationales for what she does," he argues. "That’s the approach if you’re doing to do away with the rule, not some general delay tactics over a long period of time."

The department's press secretary Liz Hill points out in a emailed statement that all the attorneys general suing DeVos are Democrats. She accuses the group of seeking to “score quick political points,” which diverts time and resources from protecting students. 

DeVos is a longtime supporter of private education and charter schools, some of which are for-profit. President Trump's now-defunct Trump University was a for-profit institution.