Scott Urges DeVos to Protect Students from Predatory For-Profit Colleges and Reverse Proposal to Eliminate Gainful Employment Rule

“Without a compliance standard … students and taxpayers [will] suffer at the hands of predatory programs pedaling high-cost, low-quality degrees and credentials.”

WASHINGTON – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03), the top Democrat on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, submitted a public comment to the Department of Education today urging the Department to abandon its proposed repeal of the “Gainful Employment” (GE) rule. The GE rule sets the enforcement standard to ensure that career programs and for-profit institutions, many of which have a demonstrated history of leaving students with debt they cannot repay, comply with federal law.

In the letter, Ranking Member Scott says the Department’s proposed rescission of the GE rule is based on unsubstantiated claims, including the baseless assertion that the rule inhibits workforce readiness and presents an institutional burden on the Department.

“The decision by the Department to rescind the rule seems less of a logical endpoint to a thoughtful process and more akin to a step toward realizing the Administration's larger goal of redirecting tax dollars to unregulated corporate interests in higher education,” Ranking Member Scott wrote.

Effective since 2015, the GE rule uses ratios between income and student loan debt to determine whether career and for-profit programs benefitting from taxpayer dollars result in gainful employment, as required by federal law. Failure to meet the GE debt-to-earnings metric not only requires a program to disclose this information to its students, but also threatens the program’s ability to access federal student aid. The Department’s own analysis reveals that eliminating this rule will send more than $5 billion taxpayer dollars to career and for-profit programs that produce graduates who do not earn enough money to pay back their federal student loans.

“This crucial regulation sets the compliance standard for a longstanding mandate in the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) that requires career programs to either provide ‘training to prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation’ or lose access to federal student aid,” Ranking Member Scott wrote. “Without a compliance standard set through rulemaking, this statutory requirement will go unfulfilled, leaving students and taxpayers to suffer at the hands of predatory programs pedaling high-cost, low-quality degrees and credentials.”

The full text of the letter is available here.


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