Devos Watch

DeVos Watch 2018 Annual Report

Since joining the U.S. Senate, Senator Elizabeth Warren has made strong oversight of the U.S. Education Department's student loan program a top priority. With Secretary Betsy DeVos now leading the Education Department, effective oversight is more important than ever. In her first year on the job, Secretary DeVos has taken a series of steps that undermine protections for students and taxpayers. To ensure that the Education Department acts in the public interest, Congress and the public must demand accountability.
 
Read the first DeVos Watch Annual Report compiled by the offices of Senator Warren and Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-Mass.). The 17-page report finds that Secretary DeVos's major actions during her first year in charge of the U.S. Department of Education has been a boon for for-profit colleges, student loan companies, and advocates of school privatization at the expense of America's K12 and college students. The report reveals that Secretary DeVos's actions have raised serious ethical questions, prioritized for-profit colleges over student borrowers, weakened traditional public education in favor of non-public schools, and reversed civil rights protections for students.
 
A PDF copy of "DeVos Watch, Year One: Failing America's Students" may be downloaded here.

VIDEO: Senator Elizabeth Warren Explains DeVos Watch and Why We Need It

Read Senator Warren's Op-Ed at CNN.com about the launch of DeVos Watch here.

"Millions of parents and teachers across the country stood by our side to fight against the nomination of Betsy DeVos because we knew how awful her extreme ideological agenda would be for students, borrowers, and schools and we were very concerned about how her financial entanglements and potential conflicts of interest would impact the Department of Education. When Secretary DeVos was confirmed, we committed to holding her accountable and making sure she couldn't get away with undermining students, higher education, or public schools in the shadows or helping big corporations or special interest groups without scrutiny so I am so glad that Senator Warren is continuing this effort and doubling down on the critical DeVos Watch work." Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

DeVos Watch Oversight Actions

January 30

Warren Questions Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at the Department of Education Nominee Robert King [Responses to Questions]   

December 12

Warren, Bonamici, Colleagues Call on DeVos to Rescind ACICS Reinstatement [Press Release]

November 28

Warren Leads Members of HELP Committee in Calling for a Hearing on Nominee for Critical Education Department Post [Press Release]

October 16

Warren, Murray, Scott question DeVos over mishandling of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program after it was reported that it has a 99.6% denial rate. [Letter (PDF)]

October 10

Warren, Baldwin, Stabenow urge Secretary DeVos to do more to combat lead in schools [Press Release]

October 10
Warren, Durbin, Blumenthal, Warren, Hassan urge DeVos to take action against the predatory for-profit chain “CEHE” [Press Release]
September 27

Warren, Brown urge DeVos to hold the troubled for-profit college InfiLaw accountable and protect students [Letter (PDF)]

September 20
Warren, Murray, Harris urge DeVos to abandon the Education Department’s faulty collective bargaining agreement [Press Release]
September 14

Warren, Murray send letter opposing Secretary DeVos’ proposal to rollback the “gainful employment” rule that holds colleges accountable [Letter (PDF)]

September 14

Warren, Serrano, Gillibrand, Velasquez express concerns over DeVos’s handling of disaster relief funding to colleges damaged by major hurricanes [Letter (PDF)]  

September 13

Warren, Murray raise concerns about DeVos' deregulatory higher education agenda that pulls back critical student protections [Letter (PDF)]  

September 6
Murphy, Warren, Colleagues request Secretary DeVos to testify at hearing about school safety and the use of federal money to arm teachers [Press Release]
August 30
Warren, Durbin, Blumenthal, Brown question involvement of Diane Jones in Dream Center Education Holding’s (DCEH) misrepresentation of accreditation [Press Release]
August 29
Murray, Warren, Colleagues send letter to DeVos strongly opposing proposed rules that limit “Borrower Defense” protections for student loan borrowers who have been cheated, misled, or defrauded [Press Release]
August 29 Murray, Warren, Colleagues send letter urging DeVos to abandon proposal to allow states to use federal funds to arm teachers [Press Release]
August 3
Warren, Durbin, Colleagues send letter to Education Department asking them to help students harmed by the closing of predatory, for-profit colleges [Press Release]
June 25

Tester, Manchin, Warren urge the Education Department to better fund the TRIO program and help students complete a college degree [Letter (PDF)]  

June 13

Smith, Warren, Colleagues urge Education Department to help teachers who are unfairly being forced to repay money they were promised as grants [Press Release]

June 4 Cortez Masto, Espaillat, Warren, Colleagues send Secretary DeVos letter to correct her false testimony that local schools have the discretion to report undocumented students to ICE for deportation [Press Release]
May 24

Warren Joins Murray, Senators in Denouncing Move by Secretary DeVos to End Investigations and Office Responsible for Protecting Students from Predatory Colleges [Press Release]

May 24

Warren, Senators Press DeVos for Answers Following Decision to Restore Recognition of For-Profit Accreditor ACICS [Press Release]  

May 24 Cortez Masto, Grijalva, Warren, Colleagues express concerns over Education Department’s consolidation of the Office of English Language Acquisition into the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education [Press Release]
May 23
Warren, Murray express concerns over Education Department’s student aid enforcement unit and the end of major for profit college investigations [Press Release]
May 22 Warren, Casey and colleagues express concern over the dismissal of more than 500 disability rights complaints by the Office of Civil Rights [Press Release
May 22 Warren, Velasquez, Serrano, Colleagues question Secretary DeVos’s decision not to simplify how colleges obtain disaster relief funds after the 2017 hurricanes [Letter (PDF)]
May 22

Warren, Durbin, Colleagues urge the Education Department to reduce barriers student loan borrowers face to have their student loans discharged in bankruptcy [Letter (PDF)]

May 17

Duckworth, Murray, Warren, Colleagues urge Secretary DeVos to distribute funding for child care for parents in school from the FY18 omnibus budget bill  [Press Release]

April 30

Warren Joins Donnelly, Colleagues Call for Department of Education to Assist Students Harmed by Closure of ITT Tech [Press Release]

April 30

Warren, Blumenthal, Colleagues Raise Concerns Over For-Profit College Industry Lobbyist’s “Oversight” Role at the Department of Education [Press Release]

March 15

Warren, Colleagues Call for Top DeVos Adviser's Recusal from Decisions on For-Profit Colleges Owned by Former Employer [Press Release]

  Response from Department of Education ethics official Marcella Goodridge received May 7 [Response (PDF)]

March 1 Warren releases 2018 DeVos Watch Annual Report [Press Release]
January 25

Warren Questions Education Department Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Nominee Frank T. Brogan [Video]

  Responses to Questions for the Record from Brogan received March 5 [Responses (PDF)]

January 24

Warren, Harris, Colleagues Raise Concerns Over Private Debt Collectors in Higher Education [Press Release]

January 4

Warren Questions Federal Student Aid Chief on Student Loan Servicing and Borrower Protection [Press Release]

January 2

Warren Calls for Inspectors General Review of Education Department's Potential Misuse of Social Security Data to Limit Relief for Defrauded Students [Press Release]

Response from Social Security Administration Inspector General received January 30 [Response (PDF)]  

Documents related to this request [PDF]

December 13

Warren, Murray, Senators Demand Department of Education Continue Work of the Enforcement Unit, which protects students from fraudulent schools [Press Release]

  Response from ED received May 4, 2018 [Letter (PDF)]

December 5

Senator Warren Sends Questions for the Record to Education Department Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Nominee Kenneth Marcus

Responses from Marcus received January 4 [Responses (PDF)]

November 15

Senator Warren Sends Questions for the Record to Education Department Nominees James Blew and Brigadier General Mitchell Zais 

Responses from Mr. Blew and Brigadier General Zais received December 4

November 14

New Report Highlights Betsy DeVos's Failure to Cancel Student Loans of Nearly 90,000 Defrauded Students [Press Release]

October 23

Warren, Bonamici Request SEC Investigation into Potential Insider Trading of Navient Stock [Press Release]

October 4

Senator Warren Asks ED General Counsel Nominee to Submit Substantive Responses to Hearing Questions [Press Release]

Response from Mr. Muñiz received October 12 [Letter (PDF)]

August 16

Warren Asks DeVos for Information to Determine if Senior Counselor Eitel Broke the Law [Press Release]

August 1

Warren, Blunt Lead Effort to Benefit Student Borrowers and Taxpayers [Press Release]

August 1

Senator Warren Statement on DeVos' Reversal of Single Loan Servicer Plan [Press Release]

July 27

After Multiple Non-Responses from DeVos, Sen. Warren Asks ED Nominee for Commitment to Reply to Oversight Requests [Press Release]

July 27

Senator Warren Statement on Peter Oppenheim's nomination [Press Release]

June 29

Members of Congress to Secretary DeVos: Stand Up for Students and Families, Reverse Delay of Protections for Defrauded Students [Press Release]

Response from ED received August 21 [Letter (PDF)]

June 12

Murray, Warren, Scott, Bonamici Urge Secretary DeVos to Protect Students, Reverse Student Loan Decisions [Press Release]

June 8

Warren, Murray, Brown and Durbin Question Secretary DeVos About Possible Delays in ED's Borrower Defense Regulation [Letter (PDF)]

June 5

Warren Urges HELP Committee to Hold Hearing, Following Abrupt Resignation of Office of Federal Student Aid Chief [Press Release]

May 23

Warren, Murray Raise Concerns about Potential Ethics Violations by Education Dept. Advisor Eitel [Press Release]

April 26

Murray, Warren, Scott, Bonamici Urge Secretary DeVos to Reinstate Student Loan Protections [Press Release]

March 31

Murray, Warren Question Department of Education Official's Ties, Conflicts of Interest with For-Profit College Chain [Press Release]

Response from ED received May 8 [Letter (PDF)]

March 17

Warren Questions DeVos About the Hiring of Robert Eitel and Taylor Hansen [Letter (PDF)]

March 14

Durbin, Murray, Warren Lead Group Of Senators Calling On Education Department To Explain Delay Of Gainful Employment Rule [Press Release]

Response from ED received May 31 [Letter (PDF)]

March 14

Warren, Bonamici Urge Administration to Protect Student Loan Borrowers from Unnecessary Fees [Press Release]

March 7

Warren, Sanders, Casey, Baldwin, Franken, Hassan and Murphy Ask Alexander for HELP Committee Hearings on Education Department Nominees [Press Release]

February 23

Following Reports Jerry Falwell Jr. to Lead Presidential Task Force, Senate Dems Call On Education Secretary DeVos to Guard Against Potential Conflicts of Interest [Press Release]

Response from ED received May 31 [Letter (PDF)]

January 30

Sen. Warren Receives Responses from Nominee Betsy DeVos's to her Questions for the Record During the Confirmation Process [Responses (PDF)]

January 27

HELP Committee Members Raise Fresh Concerns About Education Secretary-Designate Betsy DeVos's Conflicts of Interest in Higher Education [Press Release]

January 17

Senator Elizabeth Warren questions Betsy DeVos at Senate confirmation hearing

January 9

Senator Warren Questions Education Secretary-Designate DeVos’ Experience, Positions, and Priorities [Press Release]    

January 5

HELP Committee Members Request Details of DeVos's Connections to Dark Money Groups [Press Release]

Resources for Students and Families

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB): The CFPB has handled over 1 million complaints, helping students get direct responses about problems with student loans, debt collection, credit reports, and other financial products. If you have a complaint about your loan servicers — the company that administers your student loan — or about a student loan debt collector, you may wish to submit a complaint to the CFPB.

Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General: If you live in Massachusetts and you are having trouble paying your student loans or experiencing difficulty with your student loan servicer, then Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office may also be able to help. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Insurance & Financial Services Division provides a hotline, 1-888-830-6277 for Massachusetts residents, and free mediation service to Massachusetts borrowers who are having difficulties with student loans. More information is available here.

Individuals from other states may wish to contact their Attorney General's office regarding direct assistance that is offered to student borrowers. A directory of state attorneys general is available here.

Whistleblower Tip Email

Senator Warren has established a whistleblower tip email for individuals who want to share information with Senator Warren and her staff that could provide insight into whether or not the Education Department's actions are legal and ethical, and whether they honor the trust that students and taxpayer put in the Department. The form to submit a whistleblower tip is available here.