With No Help From Mitt Romney, Senate Votes to Help Defrauded Student Borrowers Drowning In Debt

After Taking Over $300K From Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ Family, Romney Refused to Overturn Costly DeVos Rule That Guts Borrower Defense Protections

Washington D.C. – In a rare display of bipartisan cooperation, today the US Senate voted to disapprove of billionaire Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ new “Borrower Defense” rule that would have left tens of thousands of defrauded student borrowers struggling to pay illegitimate debts. Without the support of Senator Mitt Romney, Senate Joint Resolution 56 passed by 53-42 vote and now moves to the President’s desk. The bill was backed by leading veterans’ groups including the American Legion, as well as ten Republican Senators and six GOP Members of Congress. Consumer watchdog group Allied Progress slammed Senator Romney’s opposition as a quid pro quo for the over $405,000 in campaign cash he’s raked in from the for-profit college industry and over $303,000 from Betsy DeVos and her family.

“Fortunately, Senator Romney was in the minority in Congress who don’t want to see defrauded student borrowers made whole again. Romney chose instead to rubberstamp the Trump administration’s scheme to protect the profits of crooked diploma mills,” said Derek Martin, director of Allied Progress. “He abandoned Utah students who were robbed of the quality education they continue to pay for. And he apparently did it to the keep the money flowing from billionaire Betsy DeVos and the for-profit college industry. The Senator didn’t want to bite the hand that feeds him, so he threw ripped off student borrowers and taxpayers to the wolves. You know the DeVos rule was a bad deal when even the McConnell-led Senate rejected it.”

Added Martin: “No one is buying the claims from DeVos’ apologists like Romney that these unreasonable requirements for student debt relief are about saving taxpayer money. If that were true, the Secretary wouldn’t have systematically let the for-profit college industry off the hook for bad behavior, which only invites more incidents of fraud against student borrowers and American taxpayers.”

AT ISSUE is the costly and corrupt rule Secretary DeVos advanced in August 2019 that made it next to impossible – apparently by design – for student borrowers who were scammed by shady colleges to cancel their loans and receive full restitution (also known as a Borrower Defense Claim). There are now over 217,000 backlogged Borrower Defense claims – including over 1,500 in Utah alone.

Under powers outlined in the Congressional Review Act, the resolution before the President would restore the 2016 “Borrower Defense to Repayment” rule, a protection that provides a path to debt forgiveness for students ripped off by predatory higher-ed institutions, oftentimes for-profit colleges.

DeVos’ fatally-flawed borrower defense rule was the natural result of the Secretary surrounding herself at the topwith former lobbyists and executives from the for-profit college industry. By the Education Department’s own estimates, the DeVos rule shortchanges fraud victims by over $500 million a year compared to the current protections — a boon to the for-profit college industry that has given over $8 million to Republican campaigns. The original Borrower Defense Rule was projected to recoup over $17 billion in losses for harmed students by 2020, and was designed to protect taxpayers.

In February, Allied Progress released results of a national poll that found Secretary DeVos’ approval rating has plummeted to 28 percent, and that there is strong support across the political spectrum for Congress to investigate her recent misconduct.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

There Are Over 1,500 Pending Borrower Defense Claims In Senator Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) State.

There Are 1,558 Pending Borrower Defense Claims In Utah, Represented By Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT).

As Of December 31, 2019, There Were 1,558 Pending Borrower Defense Claims In Utah. [Borrower Defense to Repayment Loan Forgiveness Data December 2019 Report, Federal Student Aid Data Center, accessed 02/20/20]

  • “Senator Mitt Romney Was Sworn In As Utah’s Newest Senator On January 3, 2019.” [About Mitt, Senator Mitt Romney, accessed 02/21/20]

Sen. Mitt Romney Has Taken $405,893 In Political Contributions From The For-Profit College Industry.

Sen. Mitt Romney Has Taken $405,893 From The For-Profit College Industry.

Over His Career, Senator Mitt Romney Has Received $405,893 From The For-Profit College Industry. [“For-profit Education: Money to Congress,” OpenSecrets, accessed 02/21/20]

Throughout His Career, Sen. Mitt Romney Has Taken $303,871 In Political Contributions From Betsy DeVos’ Family.

Throughout His Career, Sen. Mitt Romney Has Received $303, 871 In Political Contributions From Betsy DeVos’ Family.

Date Recipient Contributor Amount
06/21/18 Romney for Utah Inc. DeVos, Suzanne C. $2,700
06/21/18 Romney for Utah Inc. DeVos, Richard M. Jr. $2,700
06/21/18 Romney for Utah Inc. DeVos, Maria P. $2,700
06/21/18 Romney for Utah Inc. DeVos, Doug L. $2,700
06/21/18 Romney for Utah Inc. DeVos, Daniel G. $2,700
10/24/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Dalton C. $71
09/12/12 Romney Victory Inc. Prince-Brockhuizen, Elsa D. $5,000
09/12/12 Romney for President, Inc. Prince-Brockhuizen, Elsa D. $2,500
07/05/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Sydney $2,500
07/05/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Nicholas $2,500
07/05/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Cassandra $2,500
07/05/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Sydney $10,000
07/05/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Nicholas $10,000
07/05/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Cassandra $10,000
07/05/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Sydney $2,500
07/05/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Nicholas $2,500
07/05/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Cassandra $2,500
06/26/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Richard M. $2,500
06/26/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Douglas L. $2,500
06/26/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Daniel G. $2,500
06/26/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Richard M. $2,500
06/26/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Richard M. $2,500
06/26/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Richard M. $4,600
06/26/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Douglas L. $2,500
06/26/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Douglas L. $2,500
06/26/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Daniel G. $2,500
06/26/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Daniel G. $2,500
06/25/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Ryan $2,500
06/25/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Rick $2,500
06/25/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Monreau $2,500
06/25/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Micaela $2,500
06/25/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Melissa $2,500
06/25/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Dalton $2,500
06/25/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos Abraham, Andrea $2,500
06/25/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Ryan $10,000
06/25/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Richard M. $27,900
06/25/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Rick $10,000
06/25/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Monreau $10,000
06/25/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Micaela $10,000
06/25/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos Abraham, Michael $10,000
06/25/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Melissa $10,000
06/25/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Helen J. $30,800
06/25/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Dalton C. $10,000
06/25/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos Abraham, Andrea $10,000
06/25/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Ryan $2,500
06/25/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Rick $2,500
06/25/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Monreau $2,500
06/25/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos Abraham, Michael $2,500
06/25/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Micaela $2,500
06/25/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Melissa $2,500
06/25/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Dalton C. $2,500
06/25/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos Abraham, Andrea $2,500
06/18/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Richard Jr. $2,500
06/18/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Elisabeth $2,500
06/18/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Richard Jr. $2,500
06/18/12 Romney Victory Inc. DeVos, Elisabeth $2,500
05/21/12 Romney for President, Inc. Prince-Brockhuizen, Elsa D. $2,500
02/29/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Richard M. $2,500
02/29/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Richard Jr. $2,500
02/29/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Pamella $2,500
02/29/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Maria $2,500
02/29/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Helen J. $2,500
02/29/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Elisabeth $2,500
02/29/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Douglas L. $2,500
02/29/12 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Daniel G. $2,500
11/29/07 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Dan $200
09/20/07 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Dan $100
07/13/07 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Dan $200
05/07/07 Romney for President, Inc. DeVos, Richard $1,000
11/07/94 Romney for U S Senate Committee Inc. DeVos, Elizabeth $250
11/07/94 Romney for U S Senate Committee Inc. DeVos, Richard $250

 

Betsy DeVos’ Family Includes Richard, Dick, Richard, Helen, Dan, Pamella, Doug, Maria, And Suzanne Cheryl DeVos, And Her Parents, Edgar And Elsa Prince. “Members of the DeVos family who contributed to Larsen’s judicial campaign in Michigan included DeVos; her husband Dick, who is president of investment firm The Windquest Group; Dick DeVos’ parents, Richard and Helen; Dan DeVos, Betsy DeVos’ brother-in-law and his wife, Pamella; another brother-in-law, Doug DeVos, and his wife, Maria; and sister-in-law Suzanne Cheryl DeVos. The family’s patriarch, Richard DeVos, co-founded Amway, the global direct-sales company.” [Seung Min Kim, “DeVos and family members donated to Trump judicial nominee,” Politico, 05/31/19]

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