Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, facing a federal lawsuit and mounting criticism, on Friday said she will erase loans for about 1,500 students who attended colleges that shut down last year. The loans amount to about $11m.
DeVos said students who attended the Art Institute of Colorado and the Illinois Institute of Art from January 20, 2018, through the year, will have their loans canceled. Students who attended another 24 schools owned by the same company will also have their loans erased if they enrolled after June 29, 2018, Devos added.
The decision intends to give relief to students who took loans to attend schools under the chain of Dream Center colleges, which collapsed last year and shuttered campuses across the nation.
DeVos had been criticized over her handling of federal loan forgiveness programs. Under her leadership, the Education Department has stopped processing claims from students who say they were defrauded by their schools. DeVos has instead tightened eligibility rules causing backlash from Democrats and lawsuits from students and advocacy groups.