Warren: How do you plan to protect taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud and abuse by colleges that take in millions of dollars in federal student aid?
DeVos: Senator, um, if confirmed, I will certainly be very vigilant —
Warren: Yeah, I’m asking how. How are you going to do that?
DeVos: The individuals with whom I work in the Department will ensure that federal monies are used properly and appropriately, and I will look forward to working with you —
Warren: So you’re going to subcontract making sure that what happened with universities that cheat students doesn’t happen anymore?
DeVos: No, I didn’t say that.
Warren: You’re going to give that to someone else to do? I just want to know what your ideas are for making sure we don’t have problems with waste fraud and abuse.
DeVos: I want to make sure we don’t have problems with that as well. And if confirmed I will work diligently to ensure that we are addressing any of those issues.
Warren: Well let me make a suggestion on this. It actually turns out that there are a whole group of rules that are already written and are there, and all you have to do is enforce them. So what I want to know is: will you commit to enforcing these rules to ensure that no career college receives federal funds unless they can prove that they are actually preparing their students for gainful employment and not cheating them?
DeVos: Senator, I will commit to ensuring that institutions which receive federal funds are actually serving their students well.
Warren: So you will enforce the gainful employment rule to make sure that these career colleges are not cheating students?
DeVos: We will certainly review that rule and see —
Warren: You’ll review it? You will not commit to enforce it?
DeVos: And see that it is actually achieving what the intentions are.
Warren: I don’t understand about reviewing it. We talked about this in my office. There are already rules in place to stop waste, fraud and abuse, and I don’t understand how you cannot be sure about enforcing them. You know, swindlers and crooks are out there doing backflips when they hear an answer like this. If confirmed, you will be the cop on the beat, and if you can’t commit to use the tools that are already available to you in the Department of Education, then I don’t see how you can be the secretary of education.