WASHINGTON – The U.S. Education Department is rescinding an Obama-era rule that aimed to police ineffective for-profit colleges.
Department officials said Friday that the 2014 gainful employment rule will be removed entirely effective July 1, 2020. The rule sought to cut federal funding for programs that consistently left graduates with high debt compared to their incomes.
The department’s announcement says the rule focused too much on student earnings and unfairly targeted for-profit colleges.
Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said that removing the rule rather than revising it “will prop up low-quality for-profit colleges at the expense of students and taxpayers.”
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The rule has never been enforced by the Education Department, which says it no longer has access to earnings data from the Social Security Administration.
A trade group of for-profit colleges is praising the rule change.
“The U.S. Department of Education’s final decision commits our nation’s entire higher education system to full transparency. The Department has implemented the most significant consumer protection for all students, in all programs, at all schools in years,” Steve Gunderson, President and CEO of Career Education Colleges and Universities, said in a statement. “This standard is universally fair and applies to all students, in all programs, at all schools, regardless of sector – something that previous Administrations did not do.”