The U.S. Department of Education’s gainful employment regulations have been making national headlines for several months. The regulations, set to go into effect in early 2011, will require colleges and universities, many of which are predominantly for-profit, to “prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation” or lose federal financial aid funding. The regulations were conceived by the U.S.D.E in an attempt to create a clear financial picture for students. More specifically, the gainful employment regulations, when implemented, aim to more adequately educate students about the financials of their degree programs.
In an attempt to polish an image tarnished by controversy, for-profit colleges and universities across the nation are amending their business models and enforcing stricter admittance standards for students. The reputation of the for-profit education sector has taken a hit in recent months due to federal probes that uncovered faulty recruiting practices, poor job placement and below average student loan repayment at many of the schools. Now, instead of “courting any student who can pay the tab,” for-profit colleges and universities are buckling down, tightening their belts, and hoping that, by revising long-standing, controversial recruiting and admittance practices, new U.S.D.E. regulations won’t decimate eligibility for federal funding.
For-profit colleges and universities have been splashed across national newspapers and the Internet for the past several months amidst continuing reports of dishonest recruiting tactics, poor graduation and job placement rates and rising student loan defaults. While many for-profits, both ground and online, have reviewed their recruiting and financial practices and modified or enhanced them accordingly, the majority are still fighting back against what they say is a “retroactive crackdown.”
Amidst recent controversy over recruiting practices and poor job placement, for-profit education institutions have begun to recruit non-profit administrators in an effort to influence what can be a predatory, misleading admissions culture. The intent is to demonstrate to Washington and critics in general that there are many positive similarities between for- and non-profit schools, and that for-profits offer accessibility and opportunity to students who may be unable to enter a traditional non-profit.
The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that it would be moving forward as scheduled with its regulations on the for-profit education sector. However, part of the government regulations, referred to as “gainful employment regulations,” are being put on hold in response to increasing public outcry.
The U.S. Department of Education is slated to hold public meetings in early November concerning the controversial gainful employment regulations. The meetings will be held so that individuals and groups who submitted comments (over 90,000 were received) will have the chance to present “oral presentations and answer questions posed to them by department employees.”
In a recent blog post, Marc Bousquet of The Chronicle of Higher Education, takes on the recent for-profit bashing. Bousquet admits that critics of the for-profit education sector are mostly right
Still reeling from the recent onslaught of national criticism, one for-profit in Florida has decided to fight back. Keiser University, a Fort-Lauderdale based for-profit school has filed a lawsuit against a local community college for its “destructive media campaign.”