Reporter’s notebook

Photo: Matthew Dembicki
  • House education committee members
  • FTC sends $1.7M in refunds related to student loan debt relief scam
  • Tennessee’s OSHA training program goes global

House education committee members

The House Education and Labor Committee has announced its full committee roster and the rosters of each of its subcommittees. There have been some changes due to retirements as well as members moving off the committee.

Rep. Chair Frederica Wilson (D-Florida) is now chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment. Rep. Greg Murphy (R-North Carolina) is the ranking member.

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-California) is chair of the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee. Rep. Rick Allen (R-Georgia) will serve as the ranking member.

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Oregon) will lead the Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee. Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho) is the ranking member.

FTC sends $1.7M in refunds related to student loan debt relief scam

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said Wednesday it will send more than $1.7 million to people who lost money to a debt relief scheme that targeted individuals trying to pay down their student loan debt.

The FTC alleged that the operators behind Student Debt Relief Group tricked people into thinking the company was affiliated with the U.S. Education Department, charged consumers illegal upfront fees and collected fees they falsely claimed would be credited toward consumers’ student loans.

Under the final settlement, the defendants, individual Salar Tahour and his companies — Los Angeles-based M&T Financial Group and American Counseling Center Corp., doing business as Student Debt Relief Group, SDRG, Student Loan Relief Counselors, SLRC, StuDebt, and Capital Advocates Group — are banned from engaging in any debt relief activities and from making misrepresentations or unsubstantiated claims related to financial or any other products or services.

The FTC said it will send 867 checks and 18,559 refunds through PayPal, averaging about $88 each.

Tennessee’s OSHA training program goes global

Tennessee’s Volunteer State Community College is taking its OSHA health and training program global.

The college’s OSHA Training Institute Education Center has mainly focused on serving companies and employees in the southeast U.S., but now it will virtually reach countries in Europe as part of a U.S. Army Europe training initiative.

“Over the last year, we have learned to better use the tools of a learning management system and video conferencing to bridge distance, whether that distance is due to social distancing or the Atlantic Ocean, we are connecting with our learners where they are,” said Star Boe, Vol State senior instructional design specialist.

Covid prompted the program to find new ways to deliver OSHA and workforce development trainings, said Nick Bishop, the college’s vice president for economic and community development.

“We are now using that model with other groups,” he said.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.