WASHINGTON (WVEC/AP) -- Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is among the Democratic attorneys general in 18 states and the District of Columbia who are suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over her decision to suspend rules meant to protect students from abuses by for-profit colleges.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in Washington and demands implementation of borrower defense to repayment rules.

The rules aim to make schools financially responsible for fraud and forbid them from forcing students to resolve complaints outside court.

They were created under President Barack Obama's administration and were to take effect July 1.

On June 14, DeVos announced the rules would be delayed and rewritten, saying they created "a muddled process that's unfair to students and schools."

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is leading the lawsuit and says DeVos' decision is "a betrayal of her office's responsibility and a violation of federal law."

"It's a critical protection for thousands of students that cannot and should not be unilaterally dismissed by the Trump administration," said Herring in a statement. "More than one million Virginia student borrowers have a total of more than $30 billion in outstanding student loan balances and they should not be abandoned by the unlawful revocation of this important protection."

In addition to Attorneys General Herring and Healey, the lawsuit includes the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Filed Complaint: Massachusetts Et Al v. DeVos by 13News Now on Scribd