18 states sue US Education Department, Betsy DeVos over student loan relief

WASHINGTON, July 6 (Reuters) - More than one-third of U.S. states on Thursday sued the U.S. Education Department and its secretary, Betsy DeVos, over a recent decision to suspend rules intended to speedily cancel student-loan debt of people defrauded by for-profit Corinthian Colleges Inc and others.

Last month DeVos pressed pause on the rules, due to take effect on July 1, saying they needed to be reset.

Massachusetts, 17 other states and the District of Columbia said in a filing in U.S. district court in Washington, DC that the department broke federal law in announcing the delay without any public engagement process.

RELATED: Ivanka Trump and Betsy DeVos visit Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

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Ivanka Trump and Betsy Devos visit Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
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Ivanka Trump and Betsy Devos visit Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Ivanka Trump stands with students at an astronaut exhibit during visit to the Smithsonian?s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, U.S., March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Ivanka Trump view an exhibit during a visit to the Smithsonian?s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, U.S., March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Ivanka Trump speaks during a visit to the Smithsonian?s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, U.S., March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Ivanka Trump touches a piece of moon rock at an exhibit at the Smithsonian?s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, U.S., March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Director of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Jack Dailey, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Ivanka Trump speak during a visit to the Smithsonian?s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, U.S., March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Ivanka Trump greets female students highlighting the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics while touring The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos March 28, 2017 in Washington DC. Trump and DeVos toured the museum as part of Women's History Month. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Ivanka Trump tours the Air and Space Museum during an event highlighting women who study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics March 28, 2017 in Washington DC. Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos toured the museum as part of Women's History Month. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Ivanka Trump delivers remarks at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum during an event highlighting women who study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics March 28, 2017 in Washington DC. Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos toured the museum as part of Women's History Month. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Ivanka Trump tours the Air and Space Museum during an event highlighting women who study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics March 28, 2017 in Washington DC. Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos toured the museum as part of Women's History Month. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Ivanka Trump delivers remarks at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum during an event highlighting women who study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics March 28, 2017 in Washington DC. Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos toured the museum as part of Women's History Month. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Ivanka Trump tours the Air and Space Museum during an event highlighting women who study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics March 28, 2017 in Washington DC. Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos toured the museum as part of Women's History Month. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Ivanka Trump greets female students highlighting the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics while touring The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos March 28, 2017 in Washington DC. Trump and DeVos toured the museum as part of Women's History Month. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Ivanka Trump greets female students highlighting the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics while touring The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos March 28, 2017 in Washington DC. Trump and DeVos toured the museum as part of Women's History Month. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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DeVos, a Republican and advocate of public-private partnerships in education, said she wanted to pause the rule that accelerated the existing debt cancellation process because the steps were muddled and the rule "puts taxpayers on the hook for significant costs."

The rules were finalized in the last days of the administration of President Barack Obama, a Democrat who overhauled federal student lending.

The attorneys general for California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington also signed onto the suit.

Consumer groups Public Citizen and Project on Predatory Student Lending sued separately on Thursday to lift the delay.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Steve Orlofsky)

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