A federal judge this week took the rare step of holding U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in contempt of court over her department’s handling of student debt. The department admitted it still collected on loans for 16,000 students of for-profit Corinthian College, which has been shuttered, despite being ordered not to in May 2018, Politico reports.
DeVos, a West Michigan billionaire whose family has given millions to Republicans and conservative causes, was slapped with a $100,000 fine. However, Politico reports that she will not have to repay it; the government will. The money will go to a fund held by former Corinthian students’ attorneys to defray the costs of litigation.
“Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay a heartless billionaire’s court fines for further punishing defrauded students,” 2020 Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said, according to the U.K.-based Independent. “Betsy DeVos should be held personally accountable for violating court orders and breaking the law.”
The U.S. Education Department said in a tweet Thursday that it’s “disappointed” in the ruling.
We're disappointed in the court's ruling. We acknowledged that servicers made unacceptable mistakes. @BetsyDeVosED directed @FAFSA to take immediate action to help every impacted borrower. As of today, @FAFSA has taken the actions needed to make every impacted borrower whole. pic.twitter.com/10kgh63bhH
— U.S. Department of Education (@usedgov) October 25, 2019
DeVos is one of President Donald Trump’s few original cabinet members left. A fierce education choice advocate who has funded attempts to institute vouchers in Michigan and other states, DeVos became an issue in the 2018 election, with Democrats tying Republicans to her. Warren and several other Democratic presidential candidates have blasted her on the campaign trail this time around.