Education Dept declaws task force dedicated to investigating for profit college abuses
The Devos era at the United States Department of Education is continuing the trend of Trump era rollbacks by marginalizing, reassigning or refocusing a team previously dedicated to the investigation of abuses by for-profit colleges, according to the New York Times.
This move serves to kill ongoing or preliminary investigations into former employers of Devos’ top hires. During the previous administration, the group had been expanded and included about a dozen lawyers and investigators who had been looking into advertising, recruiting practices, and job placement claims at several institutions of higher learning, including Devos’ DeVry Education Group.
Early last year, that particular investigation was brought to a screeching halt as DeVos named a former dean of DeVry, Julian Schmoke as the new director of the team. Since then, the team has been reduced to a three person group which is solely dedicated to processing student loan forgiveness cases and compliance cases, per the accounts of current and former members of the team who spoke to the New York Times anonymously, fearing retaliation by the Department of Education.
Diane Auer Jones, who is the senior adviser on post secondary education, has not recused herself from investigations regarding Career Education Corporation where she worked for around five years as a senior vice president before being tapped by the Trump Administration. Last week, Elizabeth Warren and other prominent Democrats wrote a letter calling for the Department of Education to reveal the extent of Jones’ history in the for profit college sector, but the department quickly closed ranks issuing a statement defending her.
“(Ms. Jones had) vast higher-ed experience in community colleges, research universities and for profit colleges,” the statement reads. It also calls Jones an “asset,” and insisted that only a fraction of her career was spent working in the interests of for profit colleges.