Reps. Donna Shalala (FL-27), Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), and Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) introduced the Protecting Student Aid Act of 2019 (PSA Act), legislation designed to reinvigorate the Student Aid Enforcement Unit within the U.S. Department of Education in order to allow the Department to better respond to fraud and abuse within federal student aid programs.
“There are more than 12 million students in this country who rely on federal student aid,” said Rep. Shalala. “Under President Obama, the Department of Education created the Student Aid Enforcement Unit to protect federal student aid from wrongdoing at the close to 7,000 institutions who participate in these programs by hiring scores of lawyers and investigators to protect students from being swindled.”
Rep. Shalala continued, “However, since assuming office, Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration have dramatically cut the resources available at the Student Aid Enforcement Unit. The PSA Act would revitalize this important unit and make sure that we can continue holding colleges accountable for misleading and defrauding students.”
“For too long, Secretary DeVos and the Department of Education have allowed the fraud and deception of the for-profit college industry to run rampant,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “This industry has preyed on vulnerable communities leaving students with crushing levels of student debt and low-quality degrees. The PSA Act will strengthen the Federal Student Aid unit to ensure that students are protected, and institutions found cheating students and taxpayers are held accountable.”
“The Department of Education should be vigorously defending students from predatory and deceptive behavior by higher education institutions, but Betsy DeVos has completely failed to hold institutions that defraud and mislead Americans accountable. The PSA Act will recommit the Department of Education to protecting students and ensuring the credibility of our higher education system,” said Rep. Tlaib.
The Protecting Student Aid Act of 2019 would codify the Student Aid Enforcement Unit and equip the Department of Education with the tools to protect students from fraud and abuse. Specifically, the bill would ensure proper identification of potential misconduct at Institutions of Higher Education, provide expert legal analysis, support, and advice on borrower defense claims, and prioritize state and federal partnerships in holding bad actors accountable.