To watch the Senator’s speech, click here.
WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), a member of the Help, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Democratic Whip, on the Senate floor today to highlight legislation they introduced last week that will help protect students and taxpayers from predatory higher education practices. The PROTECT Students Act will help safeguard students, including servicemembers and veterans, and taxpayers from predatory and anti-student higher education practices and ensure that higher education meets the needs of hard-working students. The comprehensive bill has been endorsed by 56 organizations representing and advocating for students, families, taxpayers, veterans and service members, faculty and staff, civil rights and consumers.
“Education is the cornerstone of expanding opportunity and it is vital that we ensure that more students have access to quality, affordable higher education that will help them thrive,” Senator Hassan said. “Unfortunately – too often – hard-working students, including our veterans and service members, are taken advantage of by predatory, for-profit colleges.”
Senator Hassan continued, “Students attended these institutions with the hope of furthering their education and building a better life for themselves and their families. In reality, though, these companies were raking in billions of taxpayer funds that enriched their executives and investors all while their students were receiving subpar degrees at high costs, even though they were often recruited with a promise of a good-paying job after graduation. This has left tens of thousands of student borrowers with huge amounts of debt that they'll never be able to repay, credits or degrees of little value and few job prospects. Unscrupulous actions by for-profit colleges have also widely impacted our country's veterans who bravely fought in defense of our freedoms, then in turn were taken advantage of by predatory, corrupt schools. And our current system has done little to stop these bad actors.”
The PROTECT Students Act comes in response to the recent collapses of Education Corporation of America, Vaterott Colleges, and Dream Center Education Holdings in the past few months, which show that for-profit colleges continue to represent a disproportionate risk to students and taxpayers even years after the collapses of Corinthian Colleges, Inc. and ITT Tech. To make matters worse, Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has consistently put the interests of fraudulent, for-profit colleges ahead of students.
“Secretary DeVos has done a disservice to students by hiring into the Department officials who have close ties with companies that have defrauded students,” Senator Hassan said. “They then – unsurprisingly – have supported her mission of rolling back student protections in favor of predatory companies. Secretary DeVos has worked to gut key consumer protections and weakened relief for students who were victims of fraud. This is unacceptable. By supporting the PROTECT Students Act, members of the Senate can send a message to Secretary DeVos that we will not stand for these actions.”
The Senator concluded by thanking Senator Durbin for being a leader on this issue and working hard to ensure that predatory institutions are not taking advantage of students across the country.
See below for Senator Hassan’s remarks on the PROTECT Students Act or click here to watch: