U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos lost a lawsuit brought by 19 states and the District of Columbia, accusing her department of wrongly delaying implementation of Obama-era regulations meant to protect students who took out loans to attend college from predatory practices.

A Washington federal court judge on Wednesday ruled the department’s postponement of the so-called Borrower Defense rule was procedurally improper.

The Obama administration created the rule in the wake of revelations that some for-profit colleges enticed students with promises of an education and diplomas that would allow them to get jobs in their chosen fields. In reality, many of those certifications weren’t recognized by prospective employers, leaving graduates saddled with student loans they couldn’t repay.

The department deprived plaintiffs “of several concrete benefits that they would have otherwise accrued,” U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss wrote in a 57-page opinion. “The relief they seek in this action — immediate implementation of the Borrower Defense regulations — would restore those benefits.”

Writing that he didn’t want to delay matters further, Moss said he will hold a hearing Friday to consider remedies.

The Department of Education didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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