Donald Trump isn’t draining the swamp. He’s training a new generation of swamp monsters who have no choice but to become well-paid lobbyists just to manage their student loans.
We’ve now crossed the threshold for $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loans. One in four borrowers is struggling with repayment, and over 8 million people are in default.
You’ll hear these stats over and over in the media for the next year, but you probably won’t hear much about how little Trump is doing about the problem. He’s actively making it worse by appointing unqualified people to run the government, leaving many key positions unfilled, and focusing on cutting spending to the exclusion of actually helping people — because that’s not an “easy win” for him to tout on Twitter.
Just as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is shutting down its student loan office, stranding student borrowers on a desert island with rising tides, we get more bad news.
That office is supposed to handle complaints about bad lenders and servicers. Meanwhile, the Education Department is scrapping its team focused on investigating fraud at for-profit colleges — a big source of those complaints.
The team was “created in 2016 to look into widespread fraud claims against for-profit colleges,” but Secretary Betsy DeVos doesn’t have any use for those people or their findings. In fact, she hired people who worked for for-profit schools that were under investigation, including DeVry and Bridgepoint Education.
She put a former DeVry dean in charge of the team, right around the time they suddenly stopped investigating the school. It doesn’t get much more swampy than that.
Or does it? We also learned this month that it was a for-profit college executive who helped steer DeVos into killing a regulation that protected students who were scammed by for-profit schools.
I wrote about that regulation, called the “borrower defense to repayment,” last year when she canned it:
Last month, 18 states and Washington, D.C. sued the Education Department for halting new rules meant to protect student loan borrowers.
The rules, collectively called “borrower defense to repayment,” are meant to help students ripped off by for-profit schools that make false promises about job placement, degree offerings or otherwise deceive students into borrowing money.
Basically, if you prove you were ripped off, your student loan debt gets erased.
Since then — last August — the department has supposedly been working to rewrite the regulation into something that treats everyone “fairly.” We’ll probably get it about when we see Trump’s tax returns.
Trump doesn’t understand or care about student loan debt
Trump likes to stick his nose into certain subjects, even when he knows nothing about them. He constantly weighs in on foreign policy and stepped all over his first Secretary of State’s toes. He has plenty to say about defense and economic policy. But education? Not something he apparently values very much.
Let’s go back to Twitter, Trump’s favorite platform for dictating and railing against policy. Literally the only time Trump ever mentioned “student loans” there, in his tens of thousands of tweets over three solid years of campaigning for himself, was to retweet this inaccuracy:
"@1SimranjitSingh: I am a student myself. I cannot believe that Obama, has doubled the interest rate on student loans. Trump for President!"
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2015
Probably because he has no clue about student loans. Of course, Congress sets student loan interest rates, not Obama or the Education Department.
And while they did double for a few moments in 2013 — because a divided Congress didn’t do its job — that summer Congress passed a law tying interest rates to the performance of the economy and setting a cap on rates.
That put them back close to what they were before and has kept them lower than the “doubled” figure of 6.8 percent since. So even when this tweet was published, and Trump thoughtlessly retweeted it for an easy Obama bashing, it was completely wrong.
Rates are just now getting above 5 percent because the economy is doing well. And they’re not likely to get much higher before all this deregulation — not just in education, but across the federal government — drives the economy into the ground.
Article last modified on May 31, 2018. Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: What Fraud? Education Department Drops Investigation - AMP.
Article last modified on May 31, 2018. Published by Debt.com, LLC .