HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – Today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Il.) and U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (D-Ca.) introduced bicameral legislation to improve students’ ability to hold for-profit colleges accountable in court for their misconduct.
The Court Legal Access and Student Support (CLASS) Act would enhance accountability for for-profit colleges and protect taxpayer dollars by preventing an institute of higher learning from receiving Title IV federal student aid if the school’s enrollment agreement requires mandatory arbitration or otherwise restricts students’ ability to pursue claims against the school in court.
The bill would also ensure that the Federal Arbitration Act, which governs the enforcement of arbitration proceedings, would not be applied to student enrollment agreements. This only applies to for-profit colleges because non-profit colleges and universities don’t include mandatory arbitration clauses in their agreements.
“Using the small print in student enrollment agreements to force students to give up their rights to go to court is a dirty trick long used by the for-profit college industry to evade accountability at the expense of the students they defraud,” says Durbin. “Students must be able to directly hold for-profit colleges accountable in court, or these predatory schools should not be allowed to rake in taxpayer dollars. That’s why I’m reintroducing the CLASS Act with Congresswoman Waters, which would end the for-profit college industry’s use of this shady practice.”
The bill is supported by multiple college and consumer protection organizations.