Rep. Axne Votes to Override Veto of Bipartisan Student Protection Legislation

June 26, 2020
Press Release
Axne-backed resolution to address fraud by for-profit colleges and other educational facilities was vetoed by President Trump in May

Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) voted to override a presidential veto of House Joint Resolution 76, legislation she cosponsored to block changes to the Department of Education’s borrower defense rule. The rule change removes protections for students who were defrauded by higher education facilities and predatory for-profit colleges.

The House passed the resolution in January with bipartisan support, but the President vetoed the measure in May.

“I have spoken with so many Iowans who were told they would get the training and skills they needed to advance their careers, only to be charged thousands of dollars for a subpar education. Frankly, I was deeply disappointed that President Trump chose to reject bipartisan congressional consensus that opposed Secretary DeVos’ gutting of the borrower defense rule,” said Rep. Axne. “I voted today to override the veto of our legislation to reaffirm that our students deserve fairness and protection from predatory practices for what may be among the largest investments in their life. Institutions that betray the trust and defraud their students need to be held accountable.”

The borrower defense rule, originally written to help defrauded students get relief, was changed to limit how much can be received by borrowers, make it far more difficult for students to receive relief, and shift the costs of helping defrauded students from predatory schools to U.S. taxpayers. While the original rule made sure that 97% of all students who qualify for borrower defense relief are approved, Secretary DeVos’ rule change will leave far more students unable to qualify for debt relief.

The borrower defense rule was created after the collapse of Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute in 2016, leaving students with hundreds of thousands in student loan debt and degrees that were not accepted by major employers. ITT Tech had been charging its students some of the highest tuition fees, ranging between $45,000 to $85,000, while providing classes and certifications that did not prepare or qualify students in their career fields.

Last year, Rep. Axne joined five colleagues in introducing the Relief for Defrauded Students Act, a bill to ensure defrauded students and families get relief when for-profit colleges misrepresent their degree programs – or close before students graduate – and stick higher-education seekers with excessively high student loan debt.

Before coming to Congress, Rep. Axne worked with the Iowa College Student Aid Commission to connect Iowa college students with financial aid resources and protect student borrowers.