Bonamici to DeVos: Stop Putting Interests of For-Profit Colleges Over Interests of Students

BEAVERTON, OR [08/18/17] — Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Vice Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, spoke out on behalf of students after the Department of Education announced it would further delay requirements that colleges comply with a rule protecting student loan borrowers.

The Gainful Employment rule protects students attending career colleges from being burdened by student loan debt that they cannot repay. The Gainful Employment regulation prohibits career education programs at both for-profit and non-profit institutions from continuing to access federal student aid if graduates have high debt-to-income ratios. The rule requires that a typical graduate’s annual loan repayment is no more than 20 percent of their discretionary income, or eight percent of their total earnings. The Gainful Employment Rule provides an appeals process for colleges to challenge the data used to determine the financial makeup of their typical graduate.

This week, the Department of Education further extended the appeals deadline for colleges challenging the data used to create a financial profile of their typical graduate. By extending the deadline for the second time, the Department is allowing for-profit and career colleges to continue collecting tuition from students without proving that their programs prepare students for good-paying jobs. Additionally, the Department announced that the Secretary of Education could, at her discretion, determine how much evidence schools are required to present during the appeals process.  

“Yet again Secretary DeVos and Trump's Department of Education are putting the interests of for-profit colleges first and the interests of students last," said Congresswoman Bonamici. "By extending the appeals deadline and removing minimum data reporting requirements, the Department is robbing students of the information they need to make informed decisions about their education. The Department’s actions absolve institutions of their responsibility to educate and prepare students to be gainfully employed. I urge the Department to rethink these harmful measures and advance policies and safeguards that protect all students and prepare them for good-paying jobs.” 

Congresswoman Bonamici is an outspoken advocate for student loan borrowers and has led efforts to protect students and taxpayers from for-profit colleges by delaying gainful employment and borrower defense, two Obama Administration rules aimed at reining in predatory for-profit colleges.

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