U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos last week picked a former official at an embattled for-profit university to head the agency’s unit investigating fraud at for-profit colleges, prompting criticism that the Trump administration was promoting industry interests.
Since taking office six months ago, DeVos has moved to rescind two key Obama-era regulations that sought to deter for-profit colleges from misrepresenting their programs to students and failing to provide the education they need to get jobs after graduation. The department also has halted student-loan forgiveness in cases of possible fraud, causing a backlog of some 65,000 pending claims.
Announcing the appointment of Julian Schmoke Jr., a former associate dean at DeVry University, as head of agency’s enforcement unit, the department cited his experience in higher education and said “he ensured the delivery of a quality education to students” at DeVry.
Congressional Democrats said the decision underscores the administration’s close ties to the for-profit sector, pointing to Trump University, President Donald Trump’s for-profit school which was sued for fraud. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the advocacy group Student Debt Crisis also criticized the appointment.
The department defended its decision, saying that Schmoke served only in an academic capacity at DeVry and was not involved in admissions, recruitment, or corporate administrative activities.
A version of this article appeared in the September 06, 2017 edition of Education Week as DeVos Hires Former For-Profit Dean to Oversee Fraud Investigations