In his latest effort to take on the Trump administration, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra claims the U.S. Department of Education is refusing to let students off the hook for loans they’re entitled to have forgiven.
The suit, filed Thursday in San Francisco, alleges the U.S. Department of Education under Betsy DeVos is refusing to process claims made by former Corinthian Colleges Inc. students, who were defrauded by the for-profit schools and are therefore eligible for debt relief.
It marks the 23rd time California has sued the Trump administration.
“What Secretary DeVos is doing is unconscionable,” Becerra said in a statement. “After having their American Dreams stolen by a so-called higher education institution, Corinthian students are now being denied critical relief by a Secretary of Education hostile to their plight.”
California was instrumental in establishing loan forgiveness for tens of thousands of students allegedly scammed by now-defunct Corinthian Colleges.
When U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris was California’s attorney general, she took Corinthian to court, claiming the schools preyed on poor students and made false promises about job prospects. Harris’ office won a $1.1 billion judgment against the school operator.
“For years, Corinthian profited off the backs of poor people,” Harris said in a statement at the time. “Now they have to pay. This judgment sends a clear message: there is a cost to this kind of predatory conduct.”
After a joint investigation with California’s Department of Justice, President Obama’s Department of Education told tens of thousands of former Corinthian students they were entitled to federal student loan relief through a streamlined process.
According to the new suit, more than 50,000 relief claims filed by Corinthian students are pending, including 13,000 from Californians.
Under Xavier Becerra, California has sued DeVos’ Education Department twice before, both times for issues related to for-profit colleges.
One suit claims DeVos has delayed implementation of an Obama-era protection that requires for-profit schools to prepare students for “gainful employment in a recognized occupation.”
The other alleges DeVos has delayed the rollout of regulations that require the Education Department to provide a streamlined loan forgiveness process to students who have been defrauded by for-profit universities.