Mike Browne, Deputy Director
MADISON Wis. — Attorneys General from across the country, including from neighboring states Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa, have joined together to oppose Donald Trump and his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s scheme to repeal consumer protections for student loan borrowers. In a letter to DeVos, the state top cops note how multiple investigations have revealed abuses in the servicing of student loans and how shoddy practices harm borrowers. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted that missing from the effort to protect student loan borrowers is Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel.
“With his inaction Brad Schimel is taking the side of Donald Trump, a guy who settled a lawsuit for $25 million over his scam university, instead of standing with 21 fellow Attorneys General and fighting for the best interests of student loan borrowers,” commented Ross.
Donald Trump, who settled a class action lawsuit brought by students of his Trump “University” for $25 million days before his January inauguration, and his administration are repealing consumer protections for student loan borrowers by allowing debt collectors to charge borrowers exorbitant fees on top of their loan payments. In addition, rules requiring companies that service student loans to prioritize helping borrowers and abide by basic consumer service and protection standards in order to win federal contracts are also being repealed.
These anti-borrower measures are being implemented by Trump’s Secretary of Education, Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos, whose financial portfolio includes ties to the student loan debt collection industry.
Ross noted that Schimel’s inaction to protect the consumer rights of nearly one million Wisconsin student loan borrowers comes on the eve of the five year anniversary of the total student loan debt in the United States reaching $1 trillion.
According to recent statistics there are nearly one million borrowers with $19 billion in federal student loan debt alone. Wisconsin is now ranked in the top five states in the nation for percentage of college graduates with student debt at 70 percent and the average debt load is nearly $30,000.
He concluded, “Brad Schimel opened up a new $1 million department in the Attorney General’s office to sue the federal government when there was a Democrat in the White House. But now he won’t even sign his name to a letter asking a Republican to back off on stripping consumer protections from nearly one million Wisconsinites. Sad.”
The coalition of 21 Attorney’s General letter to Donald Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos can be found at http://onewi.org/2pYHnl0.