Faculty Forward Network signed a joint coalition letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on July 12 expressing opposition to “the delay, dismantling or weakening of the gainful employment regulations finalized in October 2014 and the ‘borrower defense to repayment’ and college accountability regulations finalized in November 2016.” Students and taxpayers should not be on the hook for fraudulent and deceptive business practices that fail to deliver quality education at a reasonable cost. In many cases, the fraud, abuse and predatory nature of for-profit higher education led to sudden school closure, including the behemoths Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institutes. The evidence is clear and consistent and the Education Department should enforce the carefully negotiated existing rules without delay.
Twenty state attorneys general agree there is a “need for rules to protect students and taxpayers from unfair and deceptive practices by for-profit higher education providers,” citing for-profit colleges as a major culprit in the nearly $1.4 trillion student loan debt. It’s sad and shameful to place profits over people and we need to hold DeVos accountable for the best interests of students and taxpayers not higher education profiteers who fleece the nation.
Americans cannot afford to subsidize schools and programs that saddle students and veterans with outrageous loans and questionable credentials. Some schools have recruited homeless people, enrolled students without their consent, and used tactics that invoke “pain” and “fear” to boost enrollment. As unconscionable as this is, predatory schools go one step further by using forced arbitration clauses as contractual roadblocks to prevent students from taking their grievances to court.
If the Education Department wishes to alter current regulations, it must do so through negotiated rulemaking, not unilaterally outside the processes established by Congress. It’s unfair to create more waste in the process to delay, dismantle or weaken college accountability when the U.S. Department of Education should be focused on protecting students and taxpayers from proven threats using the existing rules. Rollbacks of these rules are a step in the wrong direction that would, as the attorneys general warn, “signal ‘open season’ on students for the worst actors among for-profit postsecondary schools.” We won’t sit by idly while this happens.
Photo by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)