Wisconsin Students to Miss Out on Their Share of $102 Million Settlement With For-Profit College Chain Over Shady Business Practices

Gov. Walker and Attorney General Schimel Failed to Join 39 Other States, DC in Standing Up for Students

Madison – Gov. Scott Walker has rushed to join politically motivated lawsuits to try to advance his own ambitions — directing the Attorney General to sue to try to undo the Affordable Care Act, halt regulations to protect our clean air and undermine federal immigration policy. But when it comes to helping students ripped off by a for-profit college chain, Walker was nowhere to be found and now Wisconsin students will miss out on their share of the over $102 million settlement.

“Once again, Wisconsin students are paying the price for Gov. Walker’s failure to to even lift a finger to help with the student loan debt crisis,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “While he’s rushed to join lawsuits to try to advance his own political ambitions he’s left Wisconsin students ripped off by a for-profit college chain out in the cold.”

Attorneys General for thirty nine states and the District of Columbia sued the Education Management Corporation (EDMC) for deceptive practices that left many students with massive amounts of debt but never earning a degree. According to the terms of the settlement, EDMC will forgive nearly $103 million in debt for over 80,000 students.

In Wisconsin, EDMC operated as the Art Institute of Wisconsin. However because Walker and Attorney General Brad Schimel failed to join the multi-state lawsuit, Wisconsin students who may harmed by EDMC’s shady business practices are not eligible to receive any relief from the settlement.

Walker, Schimel and his GOP predecessor J.B. Van Hollen, have previously been quick to use taxpayer resources to join politically motivated lawsuits to try to gain a partisan advantage and help their special interest cronies. On his first day as governor, Walker ordered then Attorney General Van Hollen to sue to try to stop the Affordable Care Act. As he geared up for his 71 day run for president, Walker joined a GOP orchestrated lawsuit on federal immigration rules. Most recently, Walker and Schimel signed on to a lawsuit, supported by their cronies at the state big business lobby, the Wisconsin Manufacturers as Commerce, to try to halt regulations cracking down on big polluters.

Ross noted that this is just the latest Walker failure on the student loan debt crisis. As governor, Walker has repeatedly failed to support the state Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act to allow Wisconsin student loan borrowers to refinance their loans, just like you can with a mortgage, and extend a state tax deduction to student loan payments. He has also signed into law double digit tuition hikes for the University of Wisconsin System and slashed over $700 million in state funding for the UW and technical college system.

He concluded, “Gov. Walker and AG Schimel are more interested in using our tax dollars on lawsuits to help their special interest cronies than Wisconsin students working hard to get their educations and taking on the responsibility of paying for it. With priorities like that it’s no wonder Scott Walker’s approval rating is among the worst in the country.”

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.