WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, government watchdog Accountable.US called on Mark Brown, the Federal Student Aid (FSA) COO appointed by former Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, to immediately step down from his post given his abysmal record of failing to serve student borrowers. On Brown’s watch, the DOE was sued for continuing to garnish wages from student loan borrowers during the pandemic — despite the department and congressional moratoriums due to COVID-19 — and improperly seizing $2.2 billion in tax refunds. In addition, Brown oversaw the office as it disproportionately audited the financial aid applications of Black and Latino students. Accountable.US joins numerous consumer groups, along with Senator Elizabeth Warren, who have demanded Brown’s resignation in order to fully turn the page on the disastrous Betsy DeVos era.
“When Betsy DeVos — the most industry-driven Education Secretary in memory — urged colleagues to ‘be the resistance’ on her way out, Mark Brown was clearly among the intended audience,” said Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Accountable.US. “Time and again Mark Brown has protected shady student loan servicers at the expense of borrowers, and those warped priorities have only exacerbated the student debt crisis. Mr. Brown should step down because struggling student borrowers don’t need any more resistance to an affordable education.”
In addition to the DOE’s illegal wage garnishing, Brown’s office continued to collect loans from more than 16,000 students at a defunct for-profit college, disobeying a court order. Brown also maintained his position on the board of KnowledgeWorks, a non-profit foundation that holds about $30 million in federally guaranteed student loans, until Politico questioned the potential conflicts of interest.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MARK BROWN:
- During Mark Brown’s Tenure At Federal Student Aid, The Department Of Education Garnished Wages And Seized $2.2 Billion In Tax Refunds From Student Loan Borrowers Despite Department And Congressional Moratoriums Due To The COVID-19 Crisis.
- Brown’s Federal Student Aid Office Disproportionately Audited The Financial Aid Applications Of Black And Latino Students – In 2020, The Office Audited Majority Black Zip Codes At 1.8 Times And Majority Latinx Zip Codes 1.4 Times Higher Rates Than Those Of Majority White Zip Codes.
- During Brown’s Tenure At Federal Student Aid, The Department Of Education Continued To Collect Loans From More Than 16,000 Students Of A Defunct For-Profit College After A Court Order Barred Collection — Brown Was Ultimately Forced To Make A Public Apology About The Issue.
- Mark Brown Maintained His Seat On The Board Of KnowledgeWorks, A Company Which “Holds About $30 Million In Federally Guaranteed Student Loans” After Being Appointed To The Federal Student Aid Office.