Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


14th legal victory by Washington State Attorney General against Trump Administration

OLYMPIA — Following another legal victory against the Trump Administration, Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued the following statement today after a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled the federal Department of Education improperly delayed the implementation of Obama-era rules that protect student loan borrowers from predatory and deceptive practices by higher education institutions:

“These protections prevent predatory for-profit colleges from taking advantage of student loan borrowers,” Ferguson said. “Thousands of Washingtonians are shouldering crippling debt as a result of these predatory practices, and these rules offer real relief from their financial struggles. This Administration can’t arbitrarily block rules simply because it doesn’t like them.”

The court has scheduled a status conference on Friday, where the judge can order the Administration to implement the rules.


In July of 2017, Ferguson joined 18 other states in a lawsuit to stop the U.S. Department of Education from delaying implementation of Obama-era “borrower defense to repayment” rules that protect student loan borrowers from predatory and deceptive practices by higher education institutions. The states’ case was consolidated with a similar challenge, Bauer v. DeVos.

The rules offer critical protections to student loan borrowers and deter colleges, including for-profit institutions, from violating consumer protection laws. Under the rules, a state attorney general’s successful litigation against a school can make its students eligible for student loan forgiveness.

The protections also prohibit schools from forcing students into arbitration or requiring them to waive participation in class action lawsuits.

The Obama Administration developed the rules in response to state and federal investigations into for-profit schools. For example, the investigation of Corinthian Colleges revealed the institution broke state and federal laws addressing advertising, recruiting, enrolling and lending to students.

Ferguson has filed 32 lawsuits against the Trump Administration and has not lost a case. Ferguson now has 14 legal victories against the Trump Administration. Seven of those cases are finished and cannot be appealed. The Trump Administration has or may appeal the other seven, which include lawsuits involving Dreamers, 3D-printed guns and the transgender military ban. No court to rule on the merits of the Attorney General’s arguments in a lawsuit against the Trump Administration has ruled against the office.


The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.


Dan Jackson, Acting Communications Director, (360) 753-2716; DanJ1@atg.wa.gov