Illinois AG joins 17 others in for-profit school lawsuit

Secretary of Education Betsy Devos faces a lawsuit from 18 Democratic attorney generals (AG), including Illinois’s Lisa Madigan, over abuses from for-profit colleges.

The AGs put in an official complaint arguing that the federal government violated federal law by not enforcing the gainful employment rule, an Obama-era regulation that requires for-profit colleges to prepare students for gainful employment after graduation in exchange for federal funding.

The rule requires schools to provide information on its average debt load, student loan repayment rates, graduation percentage, as well as the number of students who gain employment in their field, and how much they earn. The regulation also considers whether the schools’ programs prepare their students to earn enough to repay student loans.

“As the Department of Education eliminates critical oversight such as the gainful employment rule, it abandons millions of students across the country to the false promises of predatory schools,” said Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan. “The gainful employment Rule was implemented to protect students from enrolling in programs that fail to provide an education that leads to gainful employment and instead leave students with a lifetime of debt.”

The Department of Education first announced in June that it would be allowing additional time for institutions to comply, giving them until July 1, 2018. They also plan to negotiate with stakeholders in the matter to “develop new regulations that would better serve students and enable institutions to provide high-quality programs.” Yet, many are pushing DeVos to act sooner, and enforce the regulations now so students aren’t vulnerable to for-profit college frauds.

Most UIS students interviewed by The Journal were unaware of the rule or of the lawsuit. The only student questioned that had heard of it was senior political science major, Nathan Schlindwein.

“It’s awful, that’s all I have to say about it,” he said about Devos’ refusal to enforce the rule.

The delay comes as part of Devos’ attempts to roll back other Obama-era regulations under President Donald Trump’s executive order to “alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens.”