DeVos Aide Scuttles Student Debt Relief Website For Making Process “Too Easy”

The New Website From Federal Student Aid Would Have Allowed Student Borrowers To More Easily Apply For Relief After Being Defrauded

Washington, D.C. – A shocking new whistleblower report reveals that Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and one of her top deputies — former for-profit college industry lobbyist Diane Auer Jones — pulled the plug on a website designed to help students apply for borrower defense to repayment, because it made the process “too easy.” In response to these revelations, Allied Progress released the following statement:

“The billionaire Education Secretary’s decision to put a for-profit college lobbyist in charge of regulating the industry continues to cost struggling student borrowers dearly. This is not the first time DeVos acted to protect the profits of her industry friends, but to actively make it as hard as possible for scammed students to get the relief they’re entitled to is beyond the pale, even for her,” said Derek Martin, director of consumer watchdog Allied Progress. “Since the Secretary is clearly not interested in carrying out her responsibilities, she should do student borrowers everywhere a favor and resign already.”

Allied Progress previously called on Auer Jones to resign after lying under oath to Congress about the Education Department’s role in the Dream Center accreditation scandal.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: 

A Whistleblower At The Education Department (ED) Alleged DeVos-Appointee Diane Auer Jones Rejected A Proposed Website Because It Gave Borrowers “Too Much Information” And Made The Loan Forgiveness Process For Defrauded Students “Too Easy.” 

ED “Rejected” A Website Designed To Help Defrauded Students Apply For Loan Forgiveness Because It – A Whistleblower Alleges – “Made The Process Too Easy.”  

ED “Rejected A Website” That FSA Designed To Help Defrauded Students “Apply For Loan Forgiveness” Because “The Tool Made The Process Too Easy, According To A Whistleblower Complaint.” “The Trump administration rejected a website that the Education Department’s Federal Student Aid office designed to help students who have been defrauded by their colleges apply for loan forgiveness, arguing the tool made the process too easy, according to a whistleblower complaint.” [Lauren Camera, “Whistleblower: Education Department Killed Website That Made Applying for Loan Forgiveness Too Easy,” U.S. News & World Report, 06/23/20]

Diane Auer Jones, A Political Appointee And Deputy To DeVos, Supposedly “Pushed Back On” Some User-Friendly Parts Of The Site And Did Not Respect The Firewall Intended To Separate ED And FSA.

Diane Auer Jones, A Political Appointee And DeVos’ Principal Deputy Undersecretary, “Pushed Back On Some Of The More User-Friendly Features Of The Site” And “Was Not Respecting The Firewall That’s Supposed To Exist Between The Education Department And The Federal Student Aid Office.” “But problems arose in late February, the whistleblower says, […] when Diane Auer Jones, principal deputy undersecretary at the Education Department, asked to meet with the team in charge of developing the new borrower defense website and instantly pushed back on some of the more user-friendly features of the site. That’s when the whistleblower, a career staffer who was involved in the development of the website, first lodged a complaint with the Office of Inspector General, noting that Jones, who is a political appointee, was not respecting the firewall that’s supposed to exist between the Education Department and the Federal Student Aid office.” [Lauren Camera, “Whistleblower: Education Department Killed Website That Made Applying for Loan Forgiveness Too Easy,” U.S. News & World Report, 06/23/20]

According To The Whistleblower, Jones Said The Site Provided Borrowers “With Too Much Information” And Ordered FSA Staff “To Scrap It Entirely” Two Weeks Ago.

According To The Whistleblower, Jones Said The Site Provided Borrowers “With Too Much Information” And Two Weeks Ago “Ordered Staff At The Federal Student Aid Office To Scrap It Entirely.” “Jones, who the whistleblower says was unhappy with the prompts the smart application would ask of borrowers and said it provided them with too much information, told the team it didn’t match the vision she had for the borrower defense policy. Two weeks ago, Jones told the Federal Student Aid team that it could not launch the website, effectively killing it. That’s when the whistleblower filed the second complaint with the Office of Inspector General. According to the whistleblower, Jones said the website provided borrowers with too much information and ordered staff at the Federal Student Aid office to scrap it entirely.” [Lauren Camera, “Whistleblower: Education Department Killed Website That Made Applying for Loan Forgiveness Too Easy,” U.S. News & World Report, 06/23/20]

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