Students face news hurdles in their battle with crooked, for-profit colleges, thanks to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Student rights advocates reacted angrily to news that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is once again going to bat on behalf of for-profit colleges that swindle students.

After freezing Obama-era guidelines that were designed to help students victimized by crooked schools, DeVos on Wednesday formalized the administration’s plan to deal with the widespread fraud.

Under DeVos, defrauded students now face much higher hurdles when it comes to recovering their losses from for-profit schools.

“The Trump administration is proposing new criteria that would require borrowers to prove that they have fallen into financial distress, such as defaulting on their loans, to file a claim for debt relief, or prove that the institutions intended to mislead them,” the New York Times reports.

The new rules would “dramatically reduce the number of students who are eligible for relief,” notes Inside Higher Ed.

Critics see the move as the administration abandoning students.

“This is a clear sign that students cannot rely on Secretary DeVos, and that she will continue to give predatory for-profit colleges and corporations a free pass when they mislead, cheat and defraud students,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).

“The Department of Education is turning a blind eye to widespread fraud and abuse at for-profit schools that left thousands of students in debt without a meaningful education,” added Suzanne Martindale, a senior attorney for Consumers Union.

The new guidelines represent DeVos’ ongoing effort to embrace for-profit schools, even those plagued by scandal.

Last year, she chose a former associate dean at DeVry University as head of the DOE’s enforcement unit, even though DeVry remains at the center of the controversy regarding pro-profit schools defrauding students.

Trump, of course, ran his own fraudulent for-profit “school.”

Roughly 7,000 people were scammed out of their life savings by Trump University, including single mothers and veterans. Trump ended up settling related lawsuits for $25 million.

The issue of fraudulent colleges exploded into full view during President Barack Obama’s final year in office, prompting his administration to create the Borrower Defense to Repayment program.

The action was needed after two large for-profit college chains, Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute, imploded in 2015 and 2016, leaving students in the lurch. The collapses created an unprecedented number of student fraud claims seeking loan forgiveness.

But in June 2017, just one month before Obama’s pro-student rules were set to go into place, DeVos ordered a freeze and signaled the administration would re-write the rules.

During that time, however, the Times reported that DeVos had “effectively killed investigations” into widespread fraud and abuse at the schools. She also “marginalized, reassigned or instructed [members of the special probe team] to focus on other matters.”

Now, DeVos is busy erecting new barriers for swindled students seeking relief.

Published with permission of The American Independent.