Updated: October 2018

Bauer, Del Rose, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. US Department of Education

On June 15, 2017, Meaghan Bauer and Stephano Del Rose, former students of for-profit school New England Institute of Art, moved to intervene in a lawsuit brought by the for-profit college industry because the Trump administration could not be trusted to protect students defrauded by predatory for-profit colleges and career training programs that receive federal funding. On July 6, 2017, Ms. Bauer and Mr. Del Rose filed their own lawsuit against the Secretary of Education for illegally delaying rules intended to protect borrowers’ rights. Ms. Bauer and Mr. Del Rose are counting on an Education Department rule finalized in 2016 that prohibits schools receiving federal funds from relying on forced arbitration agreements with their students. Forced arbitration clauses require students to submit any dispute that might later arise between the students and the institution to binding arbitration, a private process with little right to appeal, instead of a court of law. Students typically cannot band together to bring their claims jointly in arbitration, and they often are forbidden from publicly discussing the arbitration process.

This Borrower Defense rule will ensure that Ms. Bauer and Mr. Del Rose have their day in court. A for-profit school industry group, CAPPS, sued the Education Department to try to block the rule. Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, the Trump administration announced it would illegally delay implementing key parts of the rule until the litigation is over and begin a new rulemaking to reconsider the rule. State attorneys general have sued to protect the rule, including the state of Massachusetts, and to support them as amici, we filed this brief.

The amici are National Consumer Law Center, American Federation of Teachers, Americans for Financial Reform, Bay Area Legal Aid, Center for Responsible Lending, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, Consumer Actio, Consumers Union, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Legal Services NYC, National Association for College Admission Counseling, New York Legal Assistance Group, Public Counsel, Public Law Center, The Institute for College Access and Success, United States Public Interest Research Group, and Young Invincibles.




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