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Betsy DeVos May Only Partially Forgive Loans Of Students Ripped Off By Fraudulent Colleges

Under the Obama administration, defrauded students had their student loans fully forgiven. That could change under DeVos.

Posted on October 28, 2017, at 7:04 p.m. ET

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos may only partially forgive the loans of tens of thousands of students who were defrauded by for-profit colleges, a big shift from the complete forgiveness offered by the Obama administration, according to reports confirmed by BuzzFeed.

The Obama administration forgave the loans of tens of thousands students who said they were duped into enrolling at for-profit colleges across the country. But almost 65,000 students are still waiting for forgiveness from DeVos — who earlier this summer had yet to approve a single claim, according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed.

Under the plans now being weighed by the Education Department, the Associated Press reported, those waiting students could see only a fraction of their student loans forgiven, even if their claims are approved by the department. Tens of thousands of them attended schools like ITT Tech, another for-profit college giant that closed abruptly in 2016.

Limiting student loan forgiveness, as DeVos is considering, would potentially save the government tens of millions of dollars — Corinthian's closure cost some $550 million at last tally. But it would also mean that defrauded students are left saddled with debt, or are not refunded for the loans they've already paid.

DeVos has made other efforts to stem the student debt forgiveness offered to by the Obama administration. She has repeatedly blocked a key Obama-era regulation, called "borrower defense to repayment," that would have offered protection to students and more easily allowed them to petition the government for loan forgiveness. Nineteen state attorneys general sued in response to DeVos's actions.

“While students should have protections from predatory practices, schools and taxpayers should also be treated fairly as well,” DeVos told a Republican leadership conference in Michigan earlier this month. “Under the previous rules, all one had to do was raise his or her hands to be entitled to so-called free money.”

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.