Gainful Employment Giving Way to "Transparency for All Colleges"?


August 14, 2018 10:31 AM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is repealing an Obama-era regulation that forced for-profit colleges to prove that the students they enroll are able to attain gainful employment. The rule was created to police and punish for-profit college programs that left graduates with heavy debt compared to their incomes.

Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is repealing an Obama-era regulation that forced for-profit colleges to prove that the students they enroll are able to attain "gainful employment." The rule was created to police and punish for-profit college programs that left graduates with heavy debt compared to their incomes.

According to DeVos, the Obama-era rule was not "backed up by research and created burdensome reporting requirements for schools." Rather than punishing schools, her department plans to "give more information to students by publishing earnings data for programs at all colleges and universities, not just those in the for-profit industry." Instead of "targeting schools simply by their tax status," DeVos is working to ensure that students have "transparent, meaningful information about all colleges and all programs."

The Obama administration's crackdown on for-profit colleges was fueled largely by complaints of fraud against chains such as Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute, according to PBS. Under the 2014 gainful employment rule, "college programs could be cut off from federal funding if the average debt ratio of their graduates stayed above a certain limit for two out of three straight years." Furthermore, schools were required to publicize debt and earnings data for their programs, which steered students away from programs with poor outcomes.

Critics of the proposal call it "outrageous and irresponsible," and that the administration appears to have "little interest in protecting students or taxpayers from excessive, unaffordable student debts." On the other hand, the for-profit industry, which took a hit and suffered plunging student enrollment since the tightened regulations, is optimistic with the rollback. The news is welcomed by proponents who believe that now is the time to "establish a uniform commitment to transparency of outcomes that can stand the test of time."

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Heather H.  on  8/20/2018 4:37:31 PM commented:

I attended the University of Phoenix and received my Bachelor's degree in Healthcare Administration Management. I tried applying for job related to my degree, but due to lack of experience unable to get a job. Three years later I want to get a second Bachelor's degree in Nursing to become an RN. I enrolled, bought books and uniform needed, but was unable to start due to funding. University of Phoenix charged so much I have only $6,000 left of Federal funding. If I would have known I could have taken a different career route instead of healthcare administration management I would have did the Bachelor's in Nursing from the beginning. University of Phoenix kept telling me the Bachelor's in Healthcare Management was my next step. They played me like a fool. Does anyone know what I can do about this problem being tricked a degree I did not want?

Victoria T.  on  8/14/2018 2:44:48 PM commented:

This has needed to be more strictly enforced for a ling time. I have had the misfortune of having to transfer schools and retake classes I don't need. Each school telling me that I have to do "their prerequesets to qualify for their program". There needs to be a standard that doesn't take advantage of students like me. #UniversityOfPheonix #AIUOnline #CommunityCollegesOfSpolane

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