April 30, 2018

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

Text of the letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and eight of their Senate colleagues wrote Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos last week raising serious concerns about Diane Auer Jones, a former high-powered lobbyist and consultant for the for-profit college industry who serves as a senior advisor in the Department of Education overseeing regulations, administrative matters, and other high stakes enforcement actions faced by the same for-profit colleges she formerly worked with or represented.  Jones is one of many officials in the Department of Education with close ties to the for-profit college industry.

In a letter to Secretary DeVos, the senators outlined the "significant number of conflicts of interest and appearances of impropriety" raised by Jones' previous work on behalf of bad actors in the for-profit college industry. The senators raised specific concerns about Jones' role overseeing the fate of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), which lost federal recognition in 2016 after accrediting several now defunct for-profit colleges.

Last week's letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jeff Merkley (D-Wash), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

The Senators' letter to Secretary DeVos is available for download here.

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.