Two weeks ago, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made an announcement that can have serious implications for students registering for classes at for-profit institutions of higher education in particular, and colleges and universities in general.
In a written statement posted on the Department of Education’s website, DeVoss announced plans to eliminate the so-called gainful employment rule created during the Obama administration in 2011. That rule was aimed at holding for-profit and career college programs accountable for graduating students with poor job prospects and overwhelming debt. The rule penalized programs if their graduates had student loan payments that exceeded a specific percentage of their incomes. The teeth behind that rule was to revoke federal funding and access to financial aid for poor-performing schools.
For almost a decade now the federal government has been trying to hold schools accountable for promising to prepare students for specific careers but failing to prepare them for the job market, leaving taxpayers on the hook to pay back their taxpayer-backed loans. One of the catches used by these for-profits was that they offered financial aid – aid that did not come from their coffers, but from taxpayers.