Private education

“The U.S. Department of Education is sending emails to about 15,000 people across the country telling them: You’ve got money.

“These are former students — and some parents of students — who took out loans for colleges that shut down between Nov. 1, 2013, and Dec. 4, 2018.  About half attended campuses run by Corinthian Colleges. They will get their money back or have their debt forgiven — an amount estimated at $150 million, all told — under a provision called Automatic Closed School Discharge.

“As part of the Obama-era crackdown on for-profit colleges like ITT Tech and Corinthian Colleges, the Education Department wrote something called the “borrower defense rule.” It specified how students could get their loan money repaid if their schools were found to be shady. Borrowers had to submit an application and show how they were being defrauded. But if the school was shut down altogether, the loan discharge was supposed to be automatic.

“Under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the department took a series of steps to try to delay borrower defense from going into effect, as it was supposed to do in the summer of 2017. DeVos called it: “a muddled process that’s unfair to students and schools, and puts taxpayers on the hook for significant costs.”

“But the department lost in court repeatedly and also missed a key technical deadline for replacing the rule. In October, a federal judge ordered that the department begin forgiving loans under the rule. Now, the government seems to be complying with the closed-school portion of the rule, at least.

”Since 2013, 3,600 schools have closed at least one campus, according to the National Student Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group that has filed many lawsuits against the department. Education Corporation of America, another for-profit college chain, officially closed on Dec. 5, stranding another 20,000 students. So the department’s liability could ultimately mean many more millions of dollars beyond the initial $150 million being returned or canceled.

“Meanwhile, there are thousands of students entitled to automatic relief who in all likelihood don’t know it, while the U.S. Department of Education continues to try and weaken the borrower defense rule and to slow-walk the claims of students who say they are being defrauded. Thus does Betsy DeVos, who is devoted to privately funded education and wants local government out of the education “business” ( a business??!)  and who is supposed to be a referee between the ordinary citizen and grasping capitalism, treat the weak and poor, who simply want some qualifications to get a job.”  (based on an article on National Public Radio).

My comment: For-profit schools are supposed to be the Republican answer to publically- funded education. Clearly, this system is not working or workable,  and is doing no favours at all to the children (and their parents) who have entered the lottery of private education.  Kids should not have to raise loans to go to high school.  If schools are taking per-capita public money as well as charging students extra, this is unacceptable. Education for all  is the price the rest of us have to pay in taxes to have new generations grow up employable, knowledgeable and able to make their way in the world.  S it is the level of education – and general knowledge – is hardly stellar; we shouldn’t make it worse.

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