Access to excellent, affordable, and equitable education is the key to success in America. While K-12 educations is primarily administered by the states, the federal government plays an important role in providing funding and guidance. In higher education, the federal government provides grants and loans to students, universities, and academic researchers.
Attorneys general work to ensure students and their families have access to educational opportunities. They prosecute predatory for-profit colleges that mislead students into unmanageable debt. They hold the federal government accountable for its promises to student borrowers and to ensure students remain safe from threats of campus gun violence or sexual assault.
Below are examples of actions taken by attorneys general to advance educational opportunities for their residents:
- Minnesota AG Keith Ellison announced court approval of two settlements that affect hundreds of Minnesota student-loan borrowers.
- Washington AG Bob Ferguson won his court request to block a U.S. Department of Education rule that would deprive Washington’s public elementary and secondary schools from receiving emergency relief funds. Congress included the emergency funds for schools in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security (CARES) Act.
- A bipartisan coalition of 30 AGs urged the U.S. Senate to provide relief for all federal student loan borrowers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A coalition of 23 AGs filed a lawsuit against Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education challenging their action to unlawfully repeal and replace the 2016 “borrower defense” regulations, which established critical protections for student-borrowers who have been misled or defrauded by predatory schools by providing them an efficient pathway to get relief from their federal student loans, and creating robust deterrents for schools that engage in predatory conduct.
- A coalition of 19 AGs sued to stop U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from eliminating critical protections for students considering enrolling in for-profit colleges and vocational schools. For years, for-profit and vocational colleges engaged in fraudulent and abusive practices — including deceptive marketing — to convince students to enroll in useless academic and training programs, leaving students across the country with piles of debt and no jobs to pay off that debt.
- A coalition of 18 AGs sought a preliminary injunction to block the implementation of the U.S. Department of Education’s final rule weakening protections for students — from kindergarten through college — under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX). Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities receiving federal funding. The rule would weaken protections for survivors of sexual violence in schools.
- Massachusetts AG Maura Healey won a federal court order requiring the U.S. Department of Education and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to cancel the loans of 7,200 Massachusetts students who were defrauded by Corinthian Colleges.
- California AG Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit against Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education for their failure to implement the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. The program promised debt relief for students who entered public service, but the Department denied the promised relief to nearly all qualified applicants.
- A bipartisan coalition of 26 AGs requested that U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos use her authority to discharge the federal student loans of all students who were enrolled in now-closed schools operated by Dream Center Education Holdings, LLC.