Along with twenty other Attorneys General across the country, Maine’s Attorney General Janet Mills, demanded that the U.S. Department of Education stop rolling back critical protections for student borrowers according to a press release issued by her office yesterday.
“Maine families facing college loan debt need the federal Department of Education to join us in protecting students from deceptive practices by for-profit schools and federal loan servicers,” said Atttorney General Mills. “Instead, Secretary DeVos is working to protect the profits of institutional lenders, to the detriment of Maine students and families.”
In a letter to Secretary DeVos, Attorney General Mills and 20 other Attorneys General criticized the Department of Education for sending a letter to the “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in August in which the Department terminated two key agreements with CFPB. The Attorneys General stated in the DOE letter:
The Department of Education falsely asserted it has exclusive jurisdiction over companies that service federal student loans when in fact student loan servicers are under the jurisdiction of the CFPB, Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice, Attorneys General and other law enforcement agencies; the letter is the latest in a series of actions by the Department of Education to strip critical protections for millions of students and families repaying student loans and, lastly, the Department of Education misrepresents the strong work done by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on behalf of students and families across the country.
The Attorneys Generals wrote: “Contrary to the Department’s assertion, Congress did not exempt the $1.3 million federal student loan market from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s jurisdiction – or from the jurisdiction of any other law enforcement agencies – Not only is the Department’s assertion demonstrably false, but such an exemption would make no sense – the market for federal student loan servicers is bigger than any other consumer finance market except mortgages. Moreover, student loan borrowers, who in most cases cannot discharge their student loans through bankruptcy, are among the most vulnerable borrowers.”
The Department of Education’s August 31, 2017 letter terminated two memoranda of understanding with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with its critical protections designed to streamline the supervision of student loan services. The Attorneys Generals’ letter makes clear this step harms American families and makes it more difficult for the consumer Financial Protection Bureau to assist and protect student borrowers.
“Attorneys General work with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to prevent schools from selling worthless educational programs to obtain federally guaranteed student loans,” said Attorney General Mills. “Secretary DeVos is putting all taxpayers at risk with this rollback of student loan protections. Secretary DeVos is padding the profits of loan services, for-profit colleges, their executives and their investors, at the expense of Maine students and their families,” Mills concluded in the press release.
Secretary Betsy Prince DeVos was appointed to this post by President Trump in exchange for her parochial agenda and huge financial donations to the ultra-conservative movement – largely through the Koch Brothers. Married to the son of a co-founder of Amway who was convicted of a criminal scheme to defraud the Canadian government back in 1982, she is the daughter of a wealthy auto parts manufacturing company in Michigan. Politically ambitious herself, during her Senate confirmation hearing on January 17th, it was noted that her lack of knowledge on basic educational issues was a disqualifying factor for some during her hearings. The DeVos family tried unsuccessfully back in 2000 to pass a school voucher program in Michigan; the measure was defeated by 68% of the voters.
The source of this material and much more about the DeVos Family can be found in Jane Mayer’s groundbreaking book – “Dark Money. The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.” It’s a New York Times bestseller and is available in paperback. Jane Mayer spoke at Bowdoin College on September 23, 2017.
AG Mills has announced she is running for Governor of Maine to replace LePage when his current term expires.