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Congresswoman Waters Applauds Department of Education’s New Proposals Including Language From H.R. 2079 CLASS Act 2015 to Protect Students From Mandatory Arbitration And Class Action Bans

March 17, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C., Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters issued a statement on the Department of Education’s new proposal to further steps to protect students for predatory for-profit institutions of higher education. As part of an ongoing rule making negotiation centered on debt relief for defrauded students, the Department’s latest suggestions include eliminating mandatory arbitration and class action ban clauses in enrollment agreements. The proposal closely mirrors legislation Congresswoman Waters introduced in  March 2015, H.R.2079, the CLASS Act which prohibits the Department of Education from funding any schools that include mandatory arbitration and class action bans in their enrollment agreements. 

“For too long, unscrupulous institutions of higher education have tricked unsuspecting students and wasted millions of taxpayer dollars under the guise of providing access jobs. These same schools have hid behind the protection of fine line mandatory arbitration and other clauses that strip students of their constitutional right to access to our courts to address the wrongdoing that has occurred. Today, I applaud the Department of Education for finally proposing to hold these for-profits schools accountable and to stat restoring justice for our students. As the Department continues its work in setting regulations for the debt relief progress, I am encouraged that Secretary King and Undersecretary Mitchell have heard the calls from the student and advocate community about these extremely harmful provisions and are now working to bring about reform.”

Since her time in the California State Assembly, Congresswoman Waters has been on the forefront of holding for-profit schools accountable and protecting our students and tax payers’ dollars from their fraudulent activity. Most recently, Congresswoman Waters was joined by Congressman Bobby Scott last week in sending a letter to President Obama objecting to previous proposals related to the debt relief negotiation, suggesting that students should be able to apply for relief in groups, the process should be more streamlined and automatic, and that the proliferation of arbitration clauses should be addressed.