May 13, 2020

Betsy DeVos’ Department of Education Admits 54,000 Student Loan Borrowers Are Still Having Their Wages Garnished

Betsy DeVos' Department of Education Admits 54,000 Student Loan Borrowers Are Still Having Their Wages Garnished

Illustration for article titled Who Would Allow Wages to Be Garnished During a Pandemic? Certainly Not Betsy DeVos

Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

In case you were wondering what Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is up to these days, let me give you the short of it: she’s still playing with people’s money.

She’s been up to it for years, of course—multiple outlets have reported on her dubious connections with loan servicing giants. In late 2019, the Department of Education admitted it “erroneously” forced nearly 46,000 students scammed by for-profit colleges to repay their loans.

But if you thought a global pandemic would slow the DOE’s roll, I want to personally shake your hand for preserving such innocence and hope (Where did you get it? Is it on sale?). Because, as Forbes reports, the Department of Education admitted that 54,000 student loan borrowers were still having their wages garnished—this despite the fact that the CARES Act, passed in late March, specifically prohibits that practice.

The DOE owned up to the astonishing numbers in a court filing Monday. The filing is in response to a lawsuit filed in April by a home health aide, Elizabeth Barber, against DeVos and the DOE (according to the complaint, Barber, who is on the frontline of the nation’s public health crisis, makes just under $13 an hour). According to Forbes, one out of every eight student loan borrowers who had their wages garnished before the coronavirus pandemic are still having their wages taken today.

The DOE did not share whether it planned or was able to immediately suspend wage garnishments for those tens of thousands of borrowers, Forbes reports, but the department did say it was communicating with Barber and other plaintiffs about providing more documentation to the court.

If only you could pay your bills with that.

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