Home News DeVos Fixes The “Borrower Defense” Rule’s Biggest Problems – Forbes

DeVos Fixes The “Borrower Defense” Rule’s Biggest Problems – Forbes


The Education Department’s “borrower defense to repayment” (BDR) rule is much like Disney’s attitude towards the Star Wars saga. The “final installment” is never the final installment.

Recently, the Trump administration released the final version of the BDR rule, which builds on a preliminary rule issued in 2018, which in turn replaced an Obama-era version of the rule issued in 2016. The next administration will probably issue another version. Nevertheless, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ final rule is the best iteration issued so far, improving on both the Obama rule and DeVos’ own preliminary rule.

BDR is a statutory provision which allows students who were defrauded by their colleges to have their federal student loans canceled. What constitutes “fraud” is murky and left to the executive branch to decide, hence the regulatory ping-pong between administrations. While the Obama administration embraced a wider definition of fraud, the Trump rules, which take effect in July 2020, narrow it.

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