After years of negotiation, lawsuits, and more negotiation, the Education Department is preparing to release this month the final version of its controversial “gainful employment” rule. For-profit and community colleges, who are pushing for changes in the measure, are on the edges of their seats.
As currently written, the rule would judge career and technical programs based on their graduates’ default rates and debt-to-earnings ratios. Programs that exceeded the cutoffs would become ineligible to award federal aid—a death sentence for most.
The department’s goals are laudable. It hopes to shield students from programs that leave them saddled with debt they can’t repay. But its draft rule comes with several potential pitfalls. Here are five:
1. Some programs with many student-loan borrowers would escape scrutiny. <Read more.>