Healey: Suit against feds over DACA will protect Mass. residents, economy

By Colin A. Young, State House News Service

After announcing her latest lawsuit against President Donald Trump and his administration, Attorney General Maura Healey today defended the use of her office's resources on federal issues to protect the state's residents and state's economy.

"Certainly, these lawsuits are not filed lightly ... every one of these lawsuits has been about protecting Massachusetts interests, protecting Massachusetts businesses, protecting Massachusetts residents," Healey said during a conference call she held to discuss the latest lawsuit with reporters.

Healey has sued the Trump administration numerous times on various issues, including environmental regulations for heavy trucks, accreditation of for-profit colleges, and to prevent the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from being dismantled.

Before Trump took office, Healey emailed political supporters, saying she "won't hesitate to take Donald Trump to court if he carries out his unconstitutional campaign promises." Asked what resources her state office is dedicating to these lawsuits against the president, Healey did not directly answer, but defended the work her office does in Massachusetts.

"Our office continues to work on a variety of issues and I'm pleased with the work that we've been able to do on behalf of the consumers, in this year alone obtaining record recoveries for consumers on any number of fronts," she said. 

On Wednesday, Healey joined 13 other states and the District of Columbia in filing a federal lawsuit  that seeks to prevent the Trump administration from winding down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which the White House announced Tuesday would end in six months and which currently covers about 800,000 people nationwide.

"Today's filing against the Trump administration and the decision to rescind DACA is another example" of how the suits against Trump are intended to protect Massachusetts residents, Healey said. "We are talking about thousands of people here in Massachusetts who are adversely affected by this decision, who are contributing to our economy, serving in our military, paying taxes, working, and attending school."

Mass. consumers eligible for Santander auto-loan settlement

Santander will pay $22 million in a legal settlement announced Wednesday in connection with its role in funding unfair, unaffordable auto loans to more than 2,000 Massachusetts residents.

The settlement includes $16 million in relief to the 2,000 consumers affected by subprime auto loans that Attorney General Maura Healey's office says were issued by Santander Consumer USA Holdings "without having a reasonable basis to believe that the borrowers could afford them."

The settlement filed in Suffolk Superior Court includes a $6 million payment to Massachusetts, according to Healey's office, which handled its investigation jointly with the Delaware Attorney General's office.

Santander is the largest packager of subprime auto loan securities in the U.S., said Healey's office, which described its review of securitization practices in the subprime auto market as ongoing.

Consumers with questions about settlement eligibility should contact the AG's hotline at 1-888-830-6277.  – Michael P. Norton/State House News Service

AG launches site to help families make sense of college finance packages

As high school seniors and their families make college decisions, some are sorting through financial aid award letters. Attorney General Maura Healey on Wednesday launched a campaign to help families understand those financial aid packages before making a final decision on which school to attend.

"I know looking through and figuring out those packages aren't very easy, and I'm a lawyer," Healey said at a press conference Wednesday. "Acceptance letters are not straightforward. Financial aid award letters are really difficult and can be confusing."

 The attorney general's website uses graphics, sample forms, and other resources to help students and families understand and compare award letters. Users can calculate the cost of each school and, after financial aid, how much they would still need to borrow.

"Sometimes the award letters don't even list what it's going to cost – the full cost – of going to college... It doesn't list tuition, it doesn't list fees, it doesn't list room and board," Healey said. Watch: AG Healey, Treasurer Goldberg, Jim Rooney 

Healey's office is collaborating on the campaign with uAspire, a nonprofit that provides student counseling. uAspire is a member of the Student Debt Working Group formed last year by Healey and Jim Rooney, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Post-secondary education "is an education marketplace of buyers and sellers," Rooney said Wednesday. "Any marketplace needs transparency and to inform consumers about their investments and purchases, about costs and financing, and about outcomes and results."

 Making financial aid and repayment options more transparent will help local ensure students and families can continue to contribute to the Greater Boston economy, Rooney said.

–Sam Doran/State House News Service