WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Chris Murphy and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro this week spoke out against a Trump administration proposal to repeal an Obama-era rule aimed at ensuring for-profit colleges don’t saddle students with massive debt for degrees that offer meager earning potential.
The gainful employment rule requires programs to meet standards for the average debt graduates hold compared to their post-graduate earnings. If the schools don’t meet the standard, they may lose federal funding. The U.S. Department of Education wants to drop the threat of loss-of-funding in favor of requiring the information to be public, saying it would provide “useful, transparent higher education data to students and treat all institutions of higher education fairly.”
With the change, the department would post “gainful employment” information on its College Scorecard which would allow users to see a university’s graduation rates, average cost to attend and the median salaries its graduates earn.
Murphy, a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, says he opposes removing penalties on for-profit schools that, he says, help hold them accountable.
“Not every for-profit school is bad for students, but a school that consistently fails its students is as much of a fraud as an airline that never actually flies customers. By rescinding this rule, the administration is giving a free pass to institutions that take millions in taxpayer-backed loans to print worthless degrees. It’s got to stop,” he said.
DeLauro, who serves on the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees education spending, criticized Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for the proposal saying she is putting the interests of for-profit schools ahead of students.
“The gainful employment rule protects students — especially our nation’s veterans utilizing their GI Bill benefits — from low-quality, high-debt career education programs, yet it has been under attack from Congressional Republicans for years,” DeLauro said. “DeVos’s decision to repeal it will cost taxpayers billions of dollars more each year, all to prop up poorly performing schools. This is corruption at its worst. Students, including veterans, and taxpayers deserve a fierce advocate who will go to bat for them, not one looking out for their big donors, lobbyists, and predatory industry pals.”