For-Profit College Group Releases Code of Conduct With Protections for Students

The Coalition for Educational Success, a lobbying group for for-profit colleges that has waged an aggressive campaign against the Education Department’s "gainful employment" rule, has developed a code of conduct for its members.

The standards, which will be enforced by a foundation created by the coalition, require colleges that sign on to the voluntary program to provide prospective students with "clear and accurate" information, in writing, on program costs, completion rates, employment outcomes, and student-loan default rates. The standards also require colleges to disclose whether a program provides industry certifications or qualifies students for professional licensing exams.

Under the code, recruiters must refer questions regarding student aid to the financial-aid office and new students must be given the opportunity to speak with a financial-aid officer before they sign an enrollment agreement. Colleges cannot guarantee students that they will graduate or obtain a job, and any college that advertises specific job-placement or compensation rates must back them up with written or electronic disclosures. Institutions are also required to notify students that academic-credit transfer decisions are up to receiving institutions.

If a college does not provide career services or career counseling, it must notify prospective students, in writing, before they enroll.

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