Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives urged the Education Department on Thursday to abandon its proposed "gainful employment" rule, warning that the proposal would limit educational access, destroy jobs, and undermine the economic recovery.
"At its heart, this issue is about student choice," said Rep. John Kline of Minnesota, borrowing a line from the 2008 fight over student lending. "We realize there are some bad actors that should be rooted out. But we should not deny students the opportunity to attend the college of their choice."
The comments came during a hearing of the House education committee on the proposed rule, which would cut off federal student aid to programs whose graduates carry high debt-to-income ratios and have low loan-repayment rates.
Democrats were divided over the proposal. Rep. George Miller of California, the top Democrat on the committee, offered a more vigorous defense of the rule than he has in the past, saying it "has become apparent that a handful of bad programs are not only failing their students, but they’re also wasting taxpayer dollars."
But Rep. Donald Payne, Democrat of New Jersey, said he was concerned the rule would "limit access to a wide range of private programs, not only the bad ones."
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