Press Releases

Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher Votes To Ensure Students Defrauded by For-Profit Colleges Can Get the Debt Relief They Are Owed Under the Law

Washington, January 16, 2020 | Rocio Cruz

(Washington, DC) – Today, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) voted in support of a resolution to make sure students who have been defrauded by their schools can receive the student loan debt relief they are owed under the law.  Congress passed legislation under the Higher Education Act to give students the right to apply for a discharge of federal student loan debt if they were defrauded by their college.  The Department of Education’s 2019 Borrower Defense Rule, however, has made it more difficult for these borrowers to receive this debt relief as intended by Congress. 

Congresswoman Fletcher cosponsored the Congressional Review Act (CRA) Resolution, H.R. 76, to overturn the 2019 Borrower Defense Rule.  This resolution passed today 231-180.

“Last year, the Department of Education implemented a rule that made it difficult for students who were victims of predatory and fraudulent practices by failed for-profit colleges to receive student debt relief,” said Congresswoman Fletcher.  “Today’s vote will ensure that these students can receive meaningful assistance to help them shed the debt they acquired through misrepresentation and fraud, as provided by Congress.”

Over the last five years, four major for-profit college chains have closed abruptly, leaving hundreds of thousands of students with substantial debt and few options for credit transfer or degree completion.  Congress implemented protections in the Higher Education Act that gave student borrowers the right to apply for discharges of their federal student loans if their college makes certain acts or omissions such as fraudulent representation.  However, the U.S. Department of Education’s 2019 Borrower Defense rule effectively created a high burden for borrowers to apply successfully for this relief and limited how much relief borrowers can receive.  The resolution passed today protects defrauded students by immediately blocking the Department of Education rule from going into effect.