- U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is planning to further limit efforts to regulate for-profit colleges by eliminating rules that show their graduates were able find "gainful employment," according to the New York Times. While it was expected the rules would be replaced, it appears they will be eliminated, though the change reportedly calls for more data on student success to be collected and publicized on the department's College Scorecard website.
- The gainful employment regulations, formulated by the Obama administration after a contentious debate, cut off federally guaranteed student loans to for-profit colleges when their graduates could not pay off the debt with the incomes they earned after college. It also required the institutions to tell prospective students in advertisements whether they met certain standards for placing graduates in jobs.
- The for-profit institutions said the regulations unfairly hindered them, and the Education Department referred to a court ruling saying that the regulations didn't account for students making money from other sources.
The rule has been controversial since it was announced in 2011, and it was tossed out in court, then revised and finally stalled last year by the Trump administration.
Atlantic magazine reported that the Education Department also has targeted a “borrower defense” rule that provides students a streamlined path to debt relief if they were defrauded by their college. Both regulations were "an attempt by the Education Department under President Barack Obama to protect students from fly-by-night colleges in the for-profit sector," the magazine reported.
Atlantic, in the same article, reported that a former Education Department official was in regular contact with the industry as the DeVos changes to regulations were being formulated, and critics have suggested her department is too closely tied to the for-profit industry.
State attorneys general from 18 states and the District of Columbia have sued to keep the Education Department from suspending the rules aimed at protecting students and have stepped up their own efforts to assist them.
Some experts have suggested that for-profit universities enroll students from underserved populations and that heavily regulating them will decrease their opportunities for post-secondary education. But the Brookings Institution found last year that while regulations limit enrollment and enrollment drops at for-profit colleges when one is sanctioned, the students enroll elsewhere, often at lower-cost and better-performing community colleges.