New Report: Secretary DeVos Stacked The Education Department With Execs From Shady For-Profit Colleges That Cheat Student Borrowers

No Mystery Why DeVos Is Proposing to Weaken College Accreditation Standards to the Benefit of the For-Profit Industry

Read the Report at www.StackedDeck.org

Washington D.C. – On the eve of the public comment deadline for the Trump-DeVos Education Department’s proposal to loosen college accreditation standards, consumer advocacy group Allied Progress released a new report on how Secretary Betsy DeVos has filled her Department with former lobbyists and executives from the for-profit college industry — helping to explain what’s driving DeVos’ latest effort to sell out student borrowers. Read the report at www.StackedDeck.org

The Education Department has the important responsibility of overseeing college accrediting agencies to ensure that only colleges that offer a quality education have access to federal financial aid. But under the new DeVos proposal, standards and oversight would be rolled back to such a degree that virtually no college or accreditor would be left behind, regardless of how poorly they operate or shortchange students. Education policy experts warn this proposal could lead to millions more students enrolling in low-quality colleges that won’t lead to good paying jobs, leaving taxpayers to pick up the tab when many of these student loans go into default.

“Under the DeVos proposal to let anyone off the street be an accreditor on top of abandoning oversight, what’s to stop the next Trump University or other phony diploma mills getting a stamp of approval for federal aid? It’s clear this massive windfall for the sketchy for-profit college world is the natural, corrupt result of Secretary DeVos surrounding herself with industry insiders,”said Derek Martin, Director of Allied Progress. “Not long ago, these former executives woke up every day thinking about how to squeeze money out of student borrowers while providing the lowest quality education they could get away with. Secretary DeVos would have us believe they now suddenly have students’ best interests at heart. The steady stream of deregulation proposals out of the Department designed to make the for-profit industry rich at student borrows’ expense tells the real story.” 

KEY FINDINGS FROM THE REPORT: 

  • Since the 2012 Election cycle, the for-profit education industry has spent $12.1 million on campaign contributions,with over $8 million going to Republican candidates.
  • Betsy DeVoshas investments tied to Laureate Education, “a private for-profit college operator.” Laureate Education was the “largest for-profit college company on the planet” in 2017. DeVos also invested in Delta Educational Systems, which operates private for-profit colleges.
  • Principal Deputy Under Secretary Diane Auer Jones, the Trump administration’s “top higher education official,” spent nearly five years lobbying for a for-profit college corporation that drew the fire of federal and state regulators for deceiving students. That corporation, Career Education Corporation, has faced “near constant scrutiny from accreditors and law enforcement entities,” including The Senate, FTC, SEC, And 22 Attorneys General for “misleading and deceptive recruiting tactics.” At ED, Auer Jones restored a previously rejected accreditor that “rubber-stamped” for-profit schools like the ones she lobbied for.
  • Chief FSA Enforcement Officer Julian Schmoke’s appointment was met with complaints: “Basically Akin To Nominating Influenza To Be The Surgeon General.”Schmoke was an Executive at DeVry University, a for-profit college that has settled allegations of deceptive tactics with federal regulators.
  • Senior Counselor Robert Eitel, on “an unpaid leave of absence” from for-profit corporation Bridegepoint Education, played a role in dismantling the ED’s “Borrower Defense” regulation, something his most recent employer – a for-profit college company – lobbied on and saw as a threat to their business.
  • Institute Of Education Sciences Director Mark Schneideris in charge of the research informing the U.S. Department Of Education’s (ED’s) policies after previously consulting for-profit colleges.
  • Senior Counsel Brandon Sherman, one of DeVos’ top lawyers, previously provided legal services to numerous for-profit colleges.
  • Deputy General Counsel Jed Brintonpreviously worked for AmeriTech, a for-profit college.

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