In a piece titled “Higher Education Issues: 15 for ’15” that was published in Forbes this week, contributor John Ebersole – president of the Albany-based, private, nonprofit Excelsior College – provides insight into some of the most pressing issues the higher education sector will face in the New Year.
Readers of our blog will certainly not be surprised to see that Gainful Employment made the list. As Mr. Ebersole writes, it is a topic “that refuses to go away” and a policy that “applies more broadly than most think (not just to for-profits), and as the American Association of Community Colleges notes, requires disclosures that are ‘absurdly complicated and extensive.’” He then puts forth the all-important question that we ourselves continue to ask: “Who…benefits from this regulation?”
That APC will continue to aggressively challenge the Department of Education’s GE rule not because we object to its stated goal, but rather because its method of assessing for-profit colleges is illogical and lacks supporting data. While that stance may be expected from an organization representing proprietary colleges, many of which will be directly and adversely affected by the regulation, it is refreshing to see that critical question being asked by the president of a nonprofit, private college that has not been “targeted” by the rule. His weighing in speaks volumes about the merits of the regulation and its questionable metrics.
To be clear, Mr. Ebersole isn’t the only one outside of the for-profit college sector to question GE’s benefits. Indeed, as we previously noted, George A. Pruitt of Thomas Edison State College astutely pointed out that the GE rule is having “a negative impact on all sectors of higher education.”
It will certainly be interesting to see what 2015 brings for the higher education industry. But, with respect to Gainful Employment, we feel safe is saying that the questions and skepticism voiced by such varying constituents in the higher education sector will not wane.