On this week’s episode of Versus Trump, as summer ends and a new school begins, we re-air Jason's interview with Toby Merrill, the director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard Law School, about several lawsuits she's involved with against newly-confirmed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. We'll be back soon with new episodes. As usual, you can listen online below, and subscribe here with any podcast player or here in iTunes.
We start our interview with a discussion of what for-profit colleges are and the problem Toby's Clinic is designed to solve. We then [at 11:00] talk about the first case she brought against the Administration, Dieffenbacher v. DeVos. In that case, Toby’s client Sarah Dieffenbacher has asked the Department of Education to discharge tens of thousands of dollars of student loans of hers because the for-profit school she attended in California was a fraud; since Sarah attended the school, it has shut down and been sued by various states, fined by the federal government, and ordered to pay over a billion dollars for engaging in false advertising. Given this information, Sarah has asked a federal court to require the Department of Education to respond to her request to discharge her loans, since her request has been pending for over two years. A federal court recently agreed with her arguments that the delay has been unreasonable and has ordered the Department to respond to her discharge request by September. Toby and I discuss this case, and we also discuss the Trump Administration's complete halt to responding to borrower defense applications.
We then [at 21:00] discuss a second case that Toby’s organization has filed against the Administration. In Bauer v. DeVos, Toby's Clinic, along with their co-counsel Public Citizen, have filed a suit claiming that the Department of Education can’t indefinitely delay the effective date of a validly-adopted federal regulation, published in November of 2016, that would provide additional protections for students of for-profit colleges. We discuss what the new regulations were supposed to do and what the Trump Administration has done to undermine the regulation. We conclude with a discussion about what to expect in this space in the next several years.