As the impeachment inquiry in Congress heated up, Betsy ‘the gift that keeps on giving’ DeVos, Trump’s Secretary of Education, also caught a little bit of heat. Not for undermining US foreign policy initiatives by strongarming Ukrainian politicians, but for floating the idea to implement what some are calling a “student loan scheme.”
This week DeVos suggested that the government’s student debt portfolio be handed over to what she called a “stand-alone government corporation.” What this means is that the president of the United States would no longer have the power unilaterally to do whatever they please with the debt without the approval of Congress. More than a few of her detractors are calling foul since it could look like DeVos is throwing this out as a way of putting a wrench in the student debt forgiveness talking points for 2020 Democratic candidates.
“One has to wonder: why isn’t Federal Student Aid a stand-alone government corporation, run by a professional, expert, and apolitical Board of Governors?” DeVos said in a tweet. “A separate Federal Student Aid organization would be better positioned to deliver world-class service to students and their families as they finance higher education.”
This is an odd suggestion because managing the debt already falls under the Department of Education’s list of responsibilities and people at the DOE are already tasked with being professional and unbiased experts. It’s also somewhat conspicuous that DeVos released the proposal just weeks after her agency was held in contempt of court for failing to stop collecting debt from some 15,000 students who had been defrauded by the for profit college company, Corinthian Colleges.
Private, for-profit career “colleges” like the now defunct Trump University, collected millions from students who got little or nothing in return. Trump settled his university scam for $25 million after he became president.
This new idea about private engagement in education being touted by DeVos is consistent with her interest in privatization of education through school voucher choice programs. DeVos is also scrutinized because of personal investments by her family in charter schools.