It looks like Betsy DeVos is in the crosshairs of the new majority-Democrat House of Representatives. Politico reports that several committees in the House are planning to investigate the Trump administration’s Education Secretary.
According to the article, the House is laser-focused on DeVos for making significant changes to Obama-era education policies that they deem harmful to the American public. Some of these DeVos changes include a repeal of regulations on for-profit colleges, her overhaul of sexual assault policies on college campuses, and her failure to initiate automatic student loan forgiveness.
As NPR reports, DeVos has already been sued for neglecting to implement student loan forgiveness by an organization called the Housing and Economic Rights Advocates. They claim that the Education Secretary has contravened Borrower Defense regulations which state that the department should not be collecting payments from students who have been defrauded by for-profit colleges.
“Betsy DeVos has brought a special mix of incompetence and malevolence to Washington — and that’s rocket fuel for every committee in a new Congress that will finally provide oversight,” said Seth Frotman, the now-resigned Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s senior student loan official. Politico reports that he left his post to stand against the education policies implemented by the Trump administration.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wants to change how colleges handle sexual misconduct complaints. Her plan would:— AJ+ (@ajplus) November 16, 2018
◾️ Limit campus investigations
◾️ Give accused students a presumption of innocence
◾️ Narrow the definition of harassment pic.twitter.com/zUrlxEdtx6
The Veterans Affairs Committee is also interested in investigating the Department of Education for its apparent efforts to shield for-profit colleges from regulation.
“I want to examine the extent to which her rollbacks of regulations negatively impact veterans,” said Rep. Mark Takano, the California Democrat who is expected to head the Veterans Affairs Committee.
As a previous article by Politico notes, veteran rights groups were alarmed when Betsy DeVos proposed that students defrauded by for-profit colleges should default on their loans before they can be forgiven. A plan like this especially dangerous for servicemembers because it undermines their access to the security clearances that they need for their work. When someone in the armed forces defaults on a federal loan, they can lose their security clearance and thus their livelihood.
“It’s really putting them between a rock and a hard place: Do I lose my job or get kicked out of the military in order to recoup this money from a federal student loan used to pay for a fraudulent education?” asked Aniela Szymanski, government relations director for veterans benefits at the Military Officers Association of America.
But Politico reports that Betsy DeVos’ main opponent in the House of Representatives is expected to be Virginia Democrat Bobby Scott. He will likely be the chairman of the House education committee. According to Politico, he has been an ardent critic of the Education Secretary and has said that he will not hesitate to stand against DeVos’ education policies.