In her first months in office, Secretary DeVos took two actions that could benefit the for-profit college industry. She extended the deadline for data determinations under the gainful employment rule, which requires institutions to provide data on the debt of their graduates relative to the graduates’ earnings, and she revoked guidance barring debt collectors from charging high fees for past-due loans.
American Oversight sued the Department of Education and obtained copies of the official calendars of Secretary DeVos and a number of other senior political appointees at the department. Our analysis found that Secretary DeVos is frequently absent from work – often taking long weekends for personal travel to locations where she has homes – and that her work schedule is heavily focused on charter schools, religious schools, and other non-public educational institutions. Read more about what we found in Secretary DeVos’ calendars here.
American Oversight is also continuing to investigate DeVos’ selection of two former for-profit institution advocates, Taylor Hansen and Robert Eitel, for senior positions at the Department. Mr. Hansen has since resigned, but his father heads Strada Education Network, an entity that collects education debt and whose lawsuit against the department was arguably rendered moot by the revocation of the debt collection guidance.
Given these high-profile conflict of interest questions, American Oversight is seeking information to determine the scope of access Secretary DeVos and the Department may have provided to industry groups and others with a stake in educational regulation.