Gainful Employment Negotiations: Day 2

Career College Central summary:

  • Editor Kevin Kuzma was in Washington, DC to cover the second day of negotiated rulemaking sessions focused on gainful employment. The sessions are being held at the Department of Education's offices on K Street.
  • After spending the initial day approving a revised agenda and beginning to touch on gainful employment metrics, the committee of negotiators spent the second day of the sessions belabored by concerns about student loan repayment time frames, the ability for schools to respond to and address failing programs, and several participants continued a mammoth wrestling match with the concept of the gainful employment rule itself.
  • Marc Jerome of Monroe College dominated the morning with his concerns about loan repayment calculations and the limited response times colleges are allowed to make corrections to struggling programs. He asserted that the Department's timing — notifying the school of failing programs midway through their first year — does not allow them enough room for correction. "If you fail for one year and the transition period, you fail."
  • Concern also came from Brian Jones of Strayer who said the repayment timeline suggested by the Department were inconsistent with the direction of President Obama education policy. He said repayment periods beyond 10 years should be dropped if the Department found them to be bad policy.
  • The Department handed out its loan repayment calculations to the committee, drawing what might have been the most humorous comment of the sessions from Belle Wheelan of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. She said the calculations and what data it used — from various years — was "clear as mud."
  • Unable to get beyond extensive comments and concerns about the general draft language of the rule, John Kolotos of the Department of Education stopped the committee before breaking for lunch to voice his concerns that, at its current pace, the group would not be able to cover all the items on the agenda.
  • Below are some additional comments and observations from Tuesday's session:
  • Della Justice, of the Kentucky Attorney General's office, asked why job placement rates aren't metrics? She later suggested these rates should be 70%.
  • Whitney Barley, of the Mississippi Center for Justice posed that schools should offer a line of credit to students in failing programs.
  • Marc Jerome mentioned needing to look at repayment rates according to demographics.


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