Senators Call for a Tougher ‘Gainful Employment’ Rule

Tossing off phrases like “national scandal,” “scammed,” and “worst of the worst” to describe for-profit colleges that they said take advantage of students, four U.S. senators on Thursday called on the Department of Education to beef up its proposed “gainful employment” rule.

The senators appeared at a news conference here with several students at for-profit colleges and representatives of the group Young Invincibles.

Their fiery rhetoric did not go unanswered by the colleges—a signal that the debate over the draft rule the department released in March, which has been somewhat subdued, is about to get more heated.

The senators, all Democrats, included Brian E. Schatz of Hawaii, who urged the department to move “further and faster, and more aggressively” in toughening the rule, and Chris S. Murphy of Connecticut, who said no college should fear having to comply with the rule. “All we’re asking them is to prove to us that their advertising is actually true,” Mr. Murphy said.

The proposed rule would cut off student aid to career-focused programs at for-profit and nonprofit colleges if the program’s student-loan default rate reached 30 percent or if half of its graduates failed two student-loan debt standards. May 27 is the deadline for parties to submit comments to the department before it finalizes the rule. <Read more.>

Via Goldie Blumenstyk, The Chronicle of Higher Education.