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DeLauro Remarks on Borrower Defense Override

June 26, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) spoke on the House Floor in favor of the Borrower Defense Override. A video of her speech can be found here, and below are her remarks as delivered:

Congresswoman DeLauro Floor Remarks on Borrower Deffense

I rise to support this override.

Predatory, for-profit colleges scammed students and taxpayers out of millions of dollars. Predatory, for-profit colleges account for nine percent of students in post-secondary education, but 33 percent of defaults.

To help students, the Department of Education under the Obama Administration created a streamlined resolution process, under the borrower defense to repayment provision of the Higher Education Act. Now, Secretary DeVos is breaking the process. I will tell you what her goal is. It’s to aid perpetrators, not to help the victims.

Under her new rule, borrowers lose out. They lose out if they cannot prove the school intentionally defrauded them, if they cannot file their claim fast enough, or if they cannot document their exact financial harm. As a result, as little as 3% of eligible debt will be forgiven now. And, what little relief there is now, will likely be shouldered by taxpayers, not the schools committing the fraud.

Stopping the Secretary, as we are pushing to do, has wide support. Twenty state Attorneys General. Nearly 60 advocacy groups for students, civil rights, and education.

The American Legion has said, quote, “deception against our veterans and service members has been a lucrative scam for unscrupulous actors.” So, I say to my Republican colleagues who want to support the military, support this override.

And, to those of us who want to fight for racial and economic justice, support this override. In 2018, we wrote to the Secretary, alarmed about how this rule could hurt students of color. Quote, “95 percent of Black students attending a for-profit college took out student loans, and a staggering 75 percent of Black students who did not complete their program defaulted.”

We must act now, for veterans, for students of color, for borrowers across the country. In Connecticut, 1,100 defrauded students are waiting, waiting to be made whole. They need this override, not that cruel policy.