From The Hill: GE to Bring about “Unintended and Detrimental Consequences”

A recent commentary on The Hill ("Gainful Employment Rule Could Harm Law Schools") touches on a point that again highlights the unfair and unsound approach of the Gainful Employment regulation, which is that it should require all programs from all colleges to comply with the regulations – not just those in the proprietary sector. Protecting students from onerous student debt and poor program outcomes should be a universal mandate of all higher education providers. If the Department of Education was to apply this Rule evenhandedly to all schools, it would show how irrational…Read more …

GE and the Financial Interests of Students

One of the great untruths often spread by those critical of for-profit sector is the assumption that all proprietary colleges put their own financial interests above all else. And while such skewed misperceptions do not track with the work done every day on APC member college campuses that clearly demonstrate otherwise, let's put that conversation aside for now and talk instead about the financial interests of students, particularly with respect to GE. The topic of students' financial interests is certainly fair game in any debate about GE as they are the ones dependent…Read more …

The GE Paradox: Profiting from Turning Nonprofit

It’s an issue we have touched on time and again: the paradoxical nature of the Gainful Employment Rule, which, as a recent New York Times article (“Some Owners of Private Colleges Turn a Tidy Profit by Going Nonprofit") reminded us, ultimately comes down to tax status. After all, non-profit colleges are barley beholden to the GE Rule and virtually every GE program at community colleges avoids the rule even when there is clear objective evidence that program outcomes at many of these institutions are weak and their student borrowers are struggling. The Times'…Read more …

Answering to Investors: Not Just For Proprietary Colleges

A common accusation hurled by critics of proprietary colleges concerns allegations of "putting profits before students," the suggestion being that the administrators, faculty, and staff at these colleges and universities simply serve the financial motivations of the owners and investors. The idealistic suggestion seems to be that public and non-profit institutions are not revenue-minded and that they are somehow above having to concern themselves with the practical realities of finance. That is clearly not the case. A New York Magazine piece last year flippantly described Ivy League powerhouse Harvard University as “a real-estate…Read more …

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 …