Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) today announced its opposition to the "Gainful Employment" regulation proposed by the U.S. Department of Education which could dramatically curtail funding to students attending for-profit colleges and universities. ADA National Director, Michael J. Wilson, issued the following statement:
"Implementing the proposed Gainful Employment regulations, as currently drafted, could place a significant roadblock in front of millions of students who are working to improve educational and employment opportunities in this difficult economic environment.
Further, ADA opposes any regulation or rule that singles out one aspect of the American education system, in this case regulating for-profit entities without equal regulation at non-profit entities.
ADA has always supported higher education and full employment. Providing quality affordable education that leads to employment is consistent with those goals, as is ensuring that taxpayers are getting the most for their investment in the federal grant and loan programs. However, the proposed rule simply does not achieve this goal in an equitable or meaningful way.
The Department of Education should explore other options such as the more comprehensive formula that Representative Rob Andrews (D-NJ) has proposed. This formula includes a "quality index score" based on job placement, accreditation, loan default rate, as well as a multiplier based on the percentage of Pell grant eligible students. The Department should work more closely with Congress to consider the pitfalls of the current proposal and consider changes that ensure that investments in our economic future are as efficient and effective as possible.
A clear majority in the House of Representatives agrees. In an overwhelming vote, 289 Members, including 58 House Democrats, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Representatives Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Steve Israel, and Alcee Hastings voted to withdraw funding to implement the proposed Gainful Employment Regulations.
The Department of Education has not released a final version of their proposed regulation and Americans for Democratic Action urges the Department to consider the significant opposition to the proposed regulation demonstrated in this vote and in the thousands of public comments.
Americans for Democratic Action remains strongly committed to strengthening higher education in the United States to keep us competitive with the rest of the world in technology, manufacturing and other industries. In addition, one of the keys to ending the Great Recession is by investing in our workforce to increase education and modernize skills. Only by increasing access to higher education can these long-held ADA goals be achieved. The Gainful Employment regulation, as presently proposed by the Department of Education, does not advance these goals and should be reconsidered."