WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) reintroduced legislation to ensure that Ohio students defrauded by for-profit colleges can have their day in court. Forced arbitration clauses deny students the ability to hold for-profit colleges accountable for their misconduct.

Brown’s Court Legal Access & Student Support (CLASS) Act would prohibit any school receiving federal student aid funds from including forced arbitration clauses in enrollment agreements in order to restrict students’ ability to pursue legal claims against higher education institutions in court. The for-profit education sector is unique among institutions of higher education in including these clauses in enrollment agreements.

“Students at for-profit colleges should be able to seek financial relief when their institution closes and leaves them without a degree – but too many students at these schools are barred from doing so and they don’t even know it,” said Brown. “Forced arbitration clauses leave Ohio students with limited options to hold for-profit colleges accountable when they harm students while collecting federal student loan funding. We owe it to students and taxpayers to put an end to this practice.” 

The legislation is also cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Blumenthal (D-CT), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI).

The CLASS Act is supported by groups including the American Association for Justice, the Center for Justice & Democracy, the Center for Responsible Lending, Citizen Works, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, Consumers Union, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low income clients), the National Consumers League, the National Employment Lawyers Association, Public Citizen, The Institute for College Access and Success, and U.S. PIRG.