The National Education Association and the California state government have caused 80,000 California students to lose their federal financial aid through a combination of political vindictiveness and bureaucratic incompetence.
As the New York Times notes, the lame-duck Obama administration issued a regulation in December 2016 ostensibly aimed at protecting students taking online courses from for-profit universities. It was just the latest assault by Obama against for-profit education, which he and his party had targeted throughout his presidency. The new rule required for-profit institutions to be authorized in students’ home states — or else federal financial aid would be unavailable.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos tried to delay the implementation of the rule, arguing that states were not ready to enforce it — as the American Council on Education also noted. But the National Education Association (NEA), a powerful teachers’ union, sued the department in federal court — in California, the favorite forum for liberal lawsuits against the Trump administration.
The NEA won in April, and every other state hurried to comply with the rule.
But not California.
Last week, the department issued a notice that California “does not have a process to manage complaints for out-of-state public or non-profit institutions serving students at a distance in the State. Further, the State of California does not participate in a State authorization reciprocity agreement which addresses the issue.”
State officials scrambled, the Times notes: “California officials indicated that the financial aid suspension could be short-lived.” They claim to have “set up a complaint system that would meet the department’s requirements,” which “will go live on Monday.”
Meanwhile, 80,000 California students have been placed at risk of losing financial aid.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.