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US not granting loan relief to defrauded students: inspector general

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The U.S. Education Department under President Donald Trump and Secretary Betsy DeVos has stopped cancelling the student-loan debt of people defrauded by failed for-profit schools and those borrowers face mounting interest and other burdens, its inspector general said on Monday.

DeVos is seeking to redo the process for cancelling the debts of people who attended Corinthian Colleges, which collapsed in 2015 amid government investigations into its post-graduation rates, and other failed schools.

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In the final days of his administration, President Barack Obama approved rules speeding up the debt cancellations. DeVos has delayed implementing those rules, saying they would create significant costs for taxpayers.

According to a report by the inspector general, DeVos also brought the existing cancellation process to a crawl.

Since Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, the department has received 25,991 claims for discharging loans. It has denied two requests and approved none, the inspector general, an independent auditor within the agency, found.

That is in contrast to Obama’s final months in office. From July 1, 2016, through inauguration, the department received 46,274 claims and approved 27,986. It denied none.

Caught in limbo, borrowers are seeing interest and fees accrue and their credit damaged, the inspector general’s report showed. Borrowers could ultimately owe more on a denied discharge than if they had not asked for cancellation and simply continued making payments, the inspector said.

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Some state attorneys general have pushed the department to cancel the loans, saying students cannot afford to repay the often-large amounts because the schools did not give them adequate training or a diploma.

The inspector general also found the department did not have a sufficient information system and had to manually retrieve claims data.

“Hundreds of thousands of students were defrauded and cheated by predatory colleges that broke the law, but today’s report confirms Secretary DeVos tried to shirk her responsibility to these students and shut down the borrower-defense program, leaving them with nowhere to turn,” said Senator Patty Murray, the senior Democrat on the Education Committee.

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In a memo to the inspector general, A. Wayne Johnson, chief operating officer of the federal student aid program, said the department has “authorized an interest credit” for long-outstanding claims, will resume reviewing some claims and will soon approve claims for 11,000 Corinthian students.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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‘Backing out again?’: Trump ridiculed for trying to ‘wimp’ out of debate with whiny letter about the topics

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President Donald Trump's campaign manager Bill Stepien sent a long, rambling letter to the Presidential Debate Commission attacking them for being all-in for Vice President Joe Biden and demanding that they change the debate topics.

Moderator Kristen Welker said that the topics they intend to discuss will be fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, issues facing American families, race in America, climate change, national security and leadership in general. Stepien complained that "national security" or "leadership" doesn't have enough to do with foreign policy as he would prefer.

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Trump says he could raise $1 billion in a single day — he just doesn’t want to

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Speaking at a rally in Prescott, Arizona, this Monday, President Trump gave an excuse as to why he's not matching Joe Biden when it comes to fundraising, saying that he'd be "the greatest fundraiser in history" -- all he'd have to do it call up every Wall Street firm and major company in the U.S.

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Watch the video below:

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Ghislaine Maxwell loses court battle to keep her Jeffrey Epstein testimony sealed: report

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Ghislaine Maxwell lost in court two different ways on Monday, the Miami Herald reports.

"A federal appeals court dealt Ghislaine Maxwell, the alleged madam to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, twin blows late Monday by declining to consolidate her appeals in numerous overlapping cases and striking down her effort to thwart release of a controversial deposition she gave in a now-settled civil lawsuit," the newspaper reported. "The three-judge Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held more than two hours of oral arguments last week, and issued a succinct Monday afternoon order holding that a lower court judge did not err in order the release of a 418-page deposition from April 2016 that could shed new light on the Epstein empire."

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