Enforcement of 'gainful employment' regulations halted
- Career training programs will have until July 1 to appeal the U.S. Department of Education for reconsideration of compliance under current gainful employment and revenue reporting guidance enacted by the Obama administration, a signal that the Trump administration is holding to promises of massive deregulation in the federal education agency.
- The extended review period will allow schools the chance to prove they were unfairly assessed in previous years, under rules requiring that graduates' loan payments do not exceed 20% of their discretionary income or 8% of total earnings, metrics that many for-profit college advocates say was an unfair rule designed to disrupt for-profit impact in higher education.
- For-profit leaders applauded the extension, but opponents say the delays will allow more students to potentially be defrauded by predatory recruitment schemes and false information about postgraduate outcomes.
The extended review of the gainful employment policies will have impact throughout the higher education sector, as community colleges and schools which disproportionately serve poorer students will now have time to provide more context about graduation rates and employment outcomes which previously may not have been possible due to time constraints.
Additionally, the extension signals the first sign of regulatory repeals for higher education, one of the only signature details of President Trump's higher education platform during the campaign season, and a recurring theme shared by Congressional higher education leaders. For most institutions, this is a positive sign towards reducing costs and manpower committed to compliance efforts, but for smaller institutions with missions to serve underrepresented populations, it may be a lifeline.