COURIER-POST: Standards toughen for for-profit schools

Career College Central Summary:

  • Changes are coming soon to many of New Jersey's for-profit colleges.
  • The U.S. Department of Education has introduced new federal regulations to protect students at career colleges from becoming burdened by student loan debt.
  • If the institutions don't improve their outcomes for students, they risk losing access to federal student aid, which accounts for a majority of their revenues.
  • U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan noted career colleges must be a "stepping stone" to the middle class, and not a place where students are buried in debt with little to show for it.
  • "That is simply unacceptable," Duncan said.
  • "These regulations are a necessary step to ensure that colleges accepting federal funds protect students, cut costs and improve outcomes."
  • To qualify for federal student aid, the law requires that most for-profit programs and certificate programs at private non-profit and public institutions prepare students for "gainful employment in a recognized occupation."
  • Schools must now make sure the estimated annual loan payment of a typical graduate does not exceed 20 percent of his or her discretionary income, or 8 percent of total earnings, federal officials said.
  • The Education Department estimates about 1,400 programs serving 840,000 students won't pass this standard; 99 percent of these programs are offered by for-profit schools.

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