As gridlock on Capitol Hill over the FY2011 budget continues, it remains unclear whether key cost-savings provisions in the House-passed bill will remain in the final budget, including an amendment that blocks funding for the Department of Education’s (DOE’s) short-sighted “gainful employment” regulation.
The regulation imposes arbitrary and unfairly targeted debt-to-income and loan repayment rate formulas for graduates of for profit colleges and universities to determine federal financial aid funding eligibility for these private sector schools. This will disproportionately affect adult students looking to advance or change their careers, as well as minority and military students who benefit from the flexibility and hands-on training many career programs provide. These institutions offer hands-on training and real world experience. For the sector as a whole, during 2008, more than 370,000 graduates were placed into jobs needed to drive the economy forward. However, this rule would have a chilling effect on private sector innovation and would result in reduced access, less opportunity, fewer choices, and less convenience for students.
If the bipartisan House language is stripped from the final bill, DOE will be able to implement this new regulation which will limit access to career colleges and universities important to training our workforce in key sectors from IT to healthcare to the culinary arts.
The Department of Education crafted the gainful employment regulation without congressional input or consultation, and considering its far-reaching implications, it is urgent for our elected representatives in D.C. to put the brakes on another hastily-conceived regulation that only serves to place further burdens on businesses and our future workforce – at the worst possible time. Please contact Senator McConnell, Senator Paul, Chairman Rogers and your local representative and urge them to keep the provision blocking funding for so-called “gainful employment” in the final budget.