September 05, 2017

Senators Request Meeting with DeVos Appointee Dr. Schmoke

Text of the letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), today sent a letter to Dr. Julian Schmoke, Jr., who was recently appointed by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to lead the Department of Education's Student Aid Enforcement Unit.

In the letter, the Senators raise serious concerns about Dr. Schmoke's appointment given his "lack of experience in consumer protection, litigation, and the management of investigations and attorneys," and his history at DeVry University, "a for-profit college company that last year paid a $100 million settlement to the Federal Trade Commission...for misleading students about the professional and financial outcomes that its graduates typically attained."

The Senators also requested a meeting with Dr. Schmoke and Robin Minor, the Chief Compliance Officer, "to discuss the direction of the Student Aid Enforcement Unit," and asked for additional information regarding Dr. Schmoke's experience with investigations and enforcement, roles and responsibilities at DeVry, potential recusal on issues affecting previous employers West Georgia Technical College and Adtalem (formerly known as DeVry), and current financial interests in for-profit entities.

Last month, Senator Warren joined Senators Brown, Durbin, and Murray in a letter to Secretary DeVos "regarding the importance of the Chief Enforcement Officer position - who in effect must act as the cop on the beat to take aggressive action against actors that wish to undermine the federal financial aid programs." The Senators noted the importance of appointing to the open position an individual who is credible, well-qualified, independent, and freed of political constraints and conflicts.

This letter is the latest in an ongoing oversight effort to hold Secretary DeVos accountable for putting profits ahead of students. Follow more DeVos Watch developments here.