February 9, 2023
Rep. Pressley, Sen. Warren Seek Department of Education Action to Protect Students Defrauded by Bay State College
“The Department should be prepared to act quickly” to protect students if Bay State loses accreditation, the lawmakers wrote.
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter urging Department of Education to protect students and alumni defrauded by Bay State College, a Massachusetts-based for-profit institution, following the college’s pending loss of accreditation due to financial and organizational mismanagement.
Last month, Senator Warren and Congresswoman Pressley, in order to protect Massachusetts students and taxpayers, led efforts to increase scrutiny of the for-profit college in the wake of ongoing reports of fraud and mismanagement.
“We are writing regarding our concerns over the educational outcomes and financial obligations of current and former students of Bay State College. Amid allegations of fraud by Bay State and rapidly accumulating evidence that the college could not continue operating based on significant financial losses and severely reduced enrollment, the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE or the Commission) announced on January 16 that it will withdraw Bay State College’s accreditation on August 31, 2023,” wrote Sen. Warren and Rep. Pressley. “[We] support this action, which will protect future students in Massachusetts and beyond from what appears to be an unscrupulous and failing for-profit college, and [we] ask that the Department of Education act to protect students who were misled or defrauded by Bay State.”
The lawmakers are urging the Department of Education to respond to questions about how it will use its authority—including its “Borrower Defense” authority to discharge student loans, and its ability to recoup financial losses from top executives at Bay State—to protect current and former students defrauded by Bay State College.
A copy of their letter can be found here.
In September 2022, Rep. Pressley and Sen. Warren wrote to the nine federal student loan servicers to inquire about how they are providing borrowers with accurate and timely information about student loan cancellation. They also sent a separate letter to Navient Corporation (Navient) in response to reports that Navient is attempting to scam borrowers out of student debt relief by encouraging them to refinance their loans under Navient’s private lender, NaviRefi.
In 2012, during her time as a Boston City Councilor, Rep. Pressley held a hearing to explore a public awareness campaign to analyze the impact of for-profit college on Boston residents seeking educational opportunities and to explore the feasibility of a public awareness campaign. In 2013, she held a community meeting with then-Attorney General Martha Coakley to inform community leaders and organizations about Eliminating Deceptive Education Business Tactics (D.E.B.T.).
Rep. Pressley, along with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), have consistently called on President Biden to cancel student debt. Last year, they led their colleagues in reintroducing their bicameral resolution outlining a bold plan for President Biden to tackle the student loan debt crisis by using existing authority under the Higher Education Act to cancel federal student loan debt.
- On November 22, 2022, Rep. Pressley issued a statement applauding the extension of the student loan payment pause.
- On October 25, 2022, Rep. Pressley and Senator Warren toured communities across Massachusetts to celebrate the Biden administration’s student debt cancellation plan and help residents sign up for student loan relief.
- On October 12, 2022, Rep. Pressley joined parent borrowers and advocates for a discussion on the impacts of student debt cancellation on parents and families.
- On September 29, 2022, Rep. Pressley, along with Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Reps. Omar, Jones and advocates, held a press conference to call for swift and equitable implementation of President Biden’s student debt cancellation plan.
- On September 21, 2022, Rep. Pressley delivered a powerful speech on the House floor in which she heralded President Biden’s action to cancel student debt for millions of families in the Massachusetts 7th and across the nation. Watch the full video here.
- On September 12, 2022, Rep. Pressley and Senator Warren wrote to the nine federal student loan servicers to inquire about how they are providing borrowers with accurate and timely information about student loan cancellation.
- On August 24, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley issued a statement applauding President Biden’s action to cancel student debt.
- On August 10, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley and Senator Warren Massachusetts joined Massachusetts union leaders in Dorchester for a roundtable discussion on student debt cancellation.
- On July 18, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley delivered remarks at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) national convention and renewed her calls for President Biden to cancel student debt by executive action.
- On July 8, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley with The Debt Collective hosted a virtual roundtable with student debt holders from all walks of life to highlight the intersectional burden the nearly $2 trillion student debt crisis has had on individuals and families.
- On June 22, 2022, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, with Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, joined AFL-CIO and union leaders for a roundtable discussion on the importance of student debt cancellation for American workers.
- On May 20, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley applauded the Congressional Black Caucus’ (CBC) statement calling on President Biden to cancel student loan debt.
- On May 4, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley visited Bunker Hill Community College to celebrate the $1 million in federal community project funding she secured and continued her calls for President Biden to cancel student debt.
- On March 17, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley and Arisha Hatch, vice president and chief of campaigns at Color of Change, published an op-ed in Grio calling on President Biden to use his executive order authority to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt per borrower.
- On December 8, 2021, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a bicameral letter to President Joe Biden releasing new data about the adverse impact of restarting student loan payments and calling on him to act to cancel up to $50,000 of student debt.
- On December 2, 2021, Congresswoman Pressley delivered remarks on the House floor in which she reiterated her calls for President Biden to cancel $50,000 in federal student loan debt by executive action.
- On October 8, 2021, Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar and their House colleagues sent a letter to President Biden and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona urging him to release the memo to determine the extent of the administration’s authority to broadly cancel student debt through administrative action.
- On July 29, 2021, Congresswoman Pressley issued a statement reaffirming President Biden’s authority – and the urgency – to cancel student loan debt.
- On June 23, 2021, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Congressman Joe Courtney led their colleagues on a bicameral letter to President Biden calling on him to extend the pause on federal student loan payments.
- On April 13, 2021, Congresswoman Pressley testified at a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Policy hearing to examine the student loan debt crisis in our country.
- On April 1, 2021, Congresswoman Pressley, along with Senator Elizabeth Warren and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, held a press conference calling President Biden to tackle the student loan debt crisis.
- On February 4, 2021, Congresswoman Pressley, along with several Democratic House and Senate leaders, led their colleagues in reintroducing a bicameral resolution outlining a bold plan for President Biden to tackle the student loan debt crisis.
- On December 17, 2020, Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Maxine Waters, and Alma Adams introduced a resolution outlining a bold plan for President-elect Joe Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in Federal student loan debt for student loan borrowers.
- On December 10, 2020, Congresswoman Pressley was in Yahoo Finance urging the Biden administration to cancel student debt, stressing the impact on Black borrowers.
- On May 8, 2020, Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Alma Adams, and Ilhan Omar, led 28 of their colleagues and sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy calling for the universal, one-time, student debt cancellation of at least $30,000 per borrower in the next round of COVID-19 relief legislation.
- On March 23, 2020, Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar introduced the Student Debt Emergency Relief Act, legislation that provides immediate monthly payment relief for federal student loan borrowers.
- On March 17, 2020, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and Senator Elizabeth Warren were on The Hill calling on congressional leadership to include student debt cancellation in the next coronavirus relief package.
- On October 11, 2019, Congresswoman Pressley introduced legislation – the Ending Debt Collection Harassment Act – to protect consumers from abusive debt collection.
- On July 17, 2019, Congresswomen Pressley introduced legislation – the Student Borrower Credit Improvement Act – to provide much needed support to private student loan borrowers with a pathway to financial stability by helping them improve their credit.