Lending Our Support to the “Supporting Academic Freedom Through Regulatory Relief Act”

Late last week, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chair of the Higher Education Subcommittee in the House of Representatives, introduced a bill called the Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act (H.R. 2637) thatwould "prevent future federal overreach in postsecondary academic affairs" and eliminate three onerous regulations affecting colleges and universities, including Gainful Employment.  APC applauds and supports this much-needed legislation, which squarely serves the best interests of the innumerable college students who will otherwise be denied the opportunity to pursue their educational aspirations should GE take effect. Rep. Foxx's bill has received considerable attention, most…Read more …

The New York Times: Another Critical Look at Performance Outcomes at Community Colleges, GE’s Sacred Cows

Late last month, Time magazine published an insightful piece ("The Problem With Obama’s 'Free Community College' Proposal") by researchers at the Community College Research Center within Columbia University's Teachers College that highlighted shortcomings of the Obama Administration's recently proposed plan to offer tuition-free admission to community colleges, focusing their analysis on weak program outcomes and quality issues. We've weighed in on this concern ourselves, most recently here. The latest impartial reality check on why this proposal is not the right way to increase access to affordable, quality higher education opportunities appeared last week…Read more …

More Doublespeak from GE Advocates

One of the GE rule's greatest flaws is that it is not grounded in important practical realities. A case in point: GE's inclusion of metrics that attempt to gauge a program's success by measuring its graduates' student loan debt compared to their income levels as early as 18months after graduation – when most careers are still in their infancy and entry-level earnings are nowhere near one's full income potential over the course of a professional life.  (Read more from APC on this issue here, here and here.) Imagine if all colleges and universities…Read more …

The DOE: Ignoring Facts to Suit Its Ideology

Kudos to Inside Higher Ed reporter Michael Stratford for shedding light on the hypocrisy and inconsistency inherent in the Department of Education’s regulation of higher education. In its December release of a framework for a college ratings plan, intended to hold higher education institutions more accountable for student outcomes, the Department recently suggested an approach that assesses a college’s outcomes based on the demographics of the students it enrolls. In its argument, the Department asserts that contextualizing a college’s graduation rate or its graduates’ earnings data based on “family income, parents’ education attainment,…Read more …

Lawsuit Update: APC vs. Secretary Arne Duncan and the Department of Education

In early November 2014, APC filed suit in the Southern District of New York, challenging the validity of the Department of Education’s Gainful Employment (GE) Rules. As we have pointed out through various blog posts and as formally outlined in that complaint, the Rules are unconstitutional, violate the plain language of the Higher Education Act, and are arbitrary and capricious. Last Friday, we filed our motion for a summary judgment with the Court, setting forth the bases for our view that the Rules are legally flawed and clearly do not accomplish what they…Read more …

Editorial: “Low-Income Adults Not Served by Punishing For-Profit Colleges”

In an editorial published earlier this week, The Oklahoman, that state's largest newspaper, weighed in on gainful employment, summarizing their position on the regulation succinctly in the headline: "Low-Income Adults Not Served by Punishing For-Profit Colleges," a deep concern that APC shares. From that piece: “…For-profit colleges certainly aren’t a cure-all, but they’ve proven a viable way for many low-income adults to obtain vocational training and new careers. Those who would eliminate for-profit colleges in the name of preventing ‘exploitation’ of poor adults are in reality eliminating educational advancement and job opportunities for…Read more …

Understanding Gainful Employment and the “ObamaCollege Plan”

Like many, we read with great interest about President Obama’s recently announced proposal to offer free community college enrollment nationwide. While we strongly advocate making higher education more accessible to all who wish to pursue it, the low graduation rates at a significant number of these colleges casts a strong shadow of doubt over the soundness of the idea. Apparently we aren't the only ones who had raised eyebrows. The Wall Street Journal published an editorial (“The ObamaCollege Plan”) that criticizes the Administration's proposal. It casts a harsh light on what has been…Read more …

Conceding Defeat? Converting to Avoid GE’s Reach

A previous APC blog highlighted some prudent predictions, offered by Inside Higher Ed’s Senior Reporter Paul Fain, wherein he considered the possibility that proprietary colleges may begin changing their tax status to become non-profit organizations for a variety of reasons. Avoiding the impact of the pending GE regulation would potentially be one of them. In early January, in a move that likely came as little surprise to those familiar with the nuances of higher education regulation, Milwaukee-based Herzing University announced that it has become the latest institution to make the transition to nonprofit…Read more …