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18 States and District of Columbia Join AFT and Student Defense in Legal Fight to Restore the Gainful Employment Rule

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and Student Defense President Aaron Ament issued statements today responding to the announcement that Pennsylvania, Maryland, 16 other states and the District of Columbia sued Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos over her illegal repeal of the Gainful Employment Rule. 

The lawsuit follows one filed in January in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by Student Defense, on behalf of the AFT, the California Federation of Teachers, and two individual members. That lawsuit accuses Secretary DeVos and the Department of violating federal law by pushing through a repeal riddled with errors and unfounded assertions.

The lawsuit filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia makes similar claims and follows a pending lawsuit brought by the states to force Secretary DeVos to implement the Gainful Employment Rule. 

Student Defense President Aaron Ament said: “Now more than ever, students need to know that their investment in higher education will lead to a brighter economic future. Secretary DeVos’s illegal repeal of the Gainful Employment Rule is a betrayal of students and a handout to owners of predatory schools. The stakes for students are high, and we welcome these states joining the fight to restore these important protections.”

AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “More and more states are exposing Betsy DeVos not-so-hidden agenda to help her friends in the for profit college industry, no matter the cost to millions of defrauded students trying to improve their lives. Even when the Secretary tries to write a rule to hurt borrowers and boost her friends’ bottom lines, she fumbles the most basic principles of administrative rulemaking. Betsy DeVos has already made history as one of the most unproductive, unpopular and frankly embarrassing cabinet appointments—and today, states across the country are holding her to account.”

AFT and Student Defense’s lawsuit asks the court to vacate the repeal and reinstate the Gainful Employment Rule, and thus restore vital protections for students considering enrolling in a career-certificate program or a for-profit college. By the Department of Education’s own estimates, the lawsuit also stands to save taxpayers $5.3 billion by ending the flow of federal funds to failing programs.

More information about AFT and Student Defense’s lawsuit can be found here: AFT v. DeVos