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 notably in a Forbes’ blog by Richard Vedder, an avid critic of the Gainful Employment rule and director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, entitled: “Senator Alexander: Smart Like a Foxx.” Mr. Vedder makes a compelling point that we have reiterated time and again, and which is an important component in understanding our disagreement over the Gainful Employment rule – namely that, while we wholeheartedly support the intention of ensuring colleges provide students with a quality education that leads to gainful employment, the current GE rule as it stands is a misguided attempt that is a “blatant ideological attack against for-profit institutions.” He writes:
“While a comprehensive gainful employment rule applying to all schools might be justifiable, that is not what we have, and we need to start from scratch, as Virginia Foxx has proposed.”
We couldn’t agree more – hence why we filed a lawsuit in November challenging the validity of the Gainful Employment rule. Whether or not Rep. Foxx’s bill gains traction is yet to be seen. But, at least it is a step in the right direction. So, kudos to Rep. Foxx who, as a former community-college president and professor, and chair of the relevant House subcommittee, surely knows a thing or two about what works in higher education.