The Trump administration's decision to protect companies that collect federal student loans has created an open conflict with some state attorneys general.

On Friday, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos moved forward with her plan to shield student loan debt collectors from state investigations, saying they undermine federal authority. The Department issued a memo telling state regulators to back off the companies that manage the country's $1.3 trillion portfolio of student loans.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura says DeVos is giving the industry a free pass while students are defaulting on federal loans.

“Secretary DeVos can write as many love letters to the loan servicing industry as she wants, I won’t be shutting down my investigations or stand by while these companies rip off students and families," Healey said in a statement.

The move comes after Massachusetts and several other states sued debt collectors for overcharging borrowers and other practices they claim are unfair.