Leaner And Meaner

September 3, 2013

Article Overview: 
As the Department of Education begins a new round of deliberations over "gainful employment," its draft language is both simpler and stricter.

Career College Central summary:

  • One week after President Obama announced a sweeping plan to rate colleges on value, the U.S. Department of Education released draft standards for the employment outcomes of academic programs at for-profit institutions and community colleges. A group of department-selected negotiators will begin a rulemaking discussion on the standards on Sept. 9.
  • The department previously conducted a controversial, multi-year effort to set minimum gainful-employment rules for vocational programs to be eligible for federal financial aid. But a federal judge last year struck down the standards that emerged from that grueling process, ruling that one of the three thresholds was set arbitrarily.
  • The new draft standards appear to be stricter, for the most part, than the stalled ones they replace.
  • The proposal sets higher standards and allows fewer opportunities for failure. But the rules are less aggressive than those the department first proposed in 2010, mostly because programs would not immediately lose aid eligibility if they fall below thresholds.

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Inside Higher Education