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Veterans Describe Ways that Predatory Schools Mislead them During Recruitment

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Administration Delays Parts of the Gainful Employment Rule

On June 30, 2017, the Education Department announced it was delaying key parts of the rule, citing a recent narrow court ruling (see below) as a pretext to gut the rule. While schools are still required to post new improved consumer disclosures as of July 1, they will not need to distribute these disclosures to students or provide a link to them in their promotional materials until July 1, 2018.  This means few students will see these important disclosures. The Department is also allowing all schools to appeal their ratings and will make it easier for them to do so, even though the court ruling only applied to schools that are members of the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS).

 

Coalition Comment Strongly Opposing the Delay, Dismantling, or Weakening of the Gainful Employment Rule or Borrower Defense Rule (July 2017)

Joint comments submitted by more than 50 organizations in response to the Department of Education’s plan to conduct negotiated rulemaking on the gainful employment regulations finalized in October 2014 and the borrower defense to repayment and college accountability regulations finalized in November 2016.


Court Upholds the Gainful Employment Rule for the 4
th Time

On June 28, 2017, a federal court upheld the gainful employment rule for the fourth time. Judge Rudolph Contreras denied the American Association of Cosmetology Schools’ (AACS) motion for preliminary injunction, issuing a narrowly tailored ruling to give only AACS member schools more time and flexibility in submitting alternative earnings appeals. He specifically took care to “avoid upending the entire regulatory scheme” for gainful employment. A week prior to this ruling, the US Department of Justice had argued in court that continued implementation of GE serves the public interest.

 

Administration Asks Public for Input on Regulations to Roll Back

On June 21, 2017, the Education Department signaled its intent to repeal, replace, or modify other regulations that may protect students and taxpayers.  


New Data Suggest No New Loan Discharges Approved in this Administration

On June 26, 2017, the Education Department released data to the Associated Press showing that no new loan discharges have been approved since January 20.  Since January 20, the Department has merely processed relief that the previous administration had already granted. Some borrowers have been waiting well over a year for loan relief.


Administration Delays the Borrower Defense Rule and Decides to Renegotiate Borrower Defense and Gainful Employment Rules

On June 14, 2017, the Education Department released two notices in the federal register. One notice delayed the bulk of the borrower defense rule, which was slated to go into effect on July 1, 2017. The other notice announced ED’s intent to establish two negotiated rulemaking committees, one on borrower defense and certain collection fees, and one on gainful employment. Nineteen states, Public Citizen, and the Project on Predatory Student Lending of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School have challenged the delay in court. For a roundup of many partners’ statements against these actions, click here.


Congress Decides Not to Gut the Borrower Defense Rule

On May 11, 2017, we succeeded in discouraging any attempt to repeal the borrower defense regulation using the Congressional Review Act in part due to opposition letters from 20 state attorneys general, 16 veterans’ organizations, and more than 50 organizations representing students, consumers, veterans, servicemembers, faculty, and staff, civil rights, and college access. These efforts also helped ensure the FY17 appropriations agreement did not block any protections for students and taxpayers.


Coalition Letter Supporting Rules that Protect Students and Taxpayers from Waste and Fraud in Higher Education (March 2017)

Coalition letter from more than 50 organizations to Congress conveying strong support for the continued implementation and enforcement of important Education Department accountability provisions designed to protect students and taxpayers from unmanageable student debt and waste, fraud, and abuse in higher education.


Final Debt-to-Earnings Rates for Gainful Employment Programs (January 2017)

On January 9, 2017, the Department of Education released the first debt-to-earnings rates for career training programs as required by the Gainful Employment regulation. All career education programs at public, for-profit and non-profit colleges will have to clearly disclose the earnings of their graduates and whether the programs meet state licensure requirements as well as their cost, typical debt levels, and completion and job placement rates. Failing programs that are consistently leaving graduates with debts they cannot repay will now have to warn current and prospective students that the program will lose eligibility for aid next year if it does not improve.


Program-Level Earnings Data for Career Education Programs (November 2016)

On November 17, 2016, the Department of Education release program-level earnings date for career education programs. The data show the typical earnings for graduates of career education programs at public, for-profit, and nonprofit colleges. They show huge variation in earnings among programs at the same school and for the same program offered at different schools.

Final Borrower Defense and College Accountability Regulations

The Administration released final borrower defense and college accountability regulations on October 28, 2016. The news release announcing the rules and a summary of their key provisions is here. Our fact sheet on how the rule protects students and taxpayers is here.

Several organizations released statements on the final regulation, including:

American Federation of Teachers
Americans for Financial Reform
Consumers Union
Generation Progress
The Institute for College Access & Success
Project on Predatory Student Lending of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School
Public Citizen


Coalition Letter Urging Strong Borrower Relief and College Accountability Regulations (August 2016)

Letter to Education Secretary John King from 58 organizations that advocate for students, veterans, service members, civil rights, consumers, college access and success, and college faculty and staff expressing support for strong rules that protect students and taxpayers from fraud, deception and other misconduct by unscrupulous schools.


Department of Education Releases Draft Borrower Defense Rules (June 2016)

The U.S. Department of Education released proposed regulations that clarify and strengthen protections for federal student loan borrowers who were defrauded or deceived by their college. The proposed rules lower barriers between harmed borrowers and necessary relief in several ways that are dramatic improvements over current policy. However, there are several ways in which the proposed rules need to be improved to be more fair, transparent, and efficient.

Read the Department of Education’s news release here.

Coalition Letter to President Obama on Education Department Complaint Tracking System (October 2016)

Coalition letter to President Obama from 56 organizations and advocates working on behalf of students, consumers, veterans, servicemembers, faculty and staff, civil rights, and college access on the Department of Education’s complaints tracking system.


Coalition Letter Opposing Efforts to Block Gainful Employment Regulation (June 2016)

Letter to all Members of Congress from more than 50 organizations that advocate for students, veterans, civil rights, consumers, college access and success, and college faculty and staff expressing strong opposition to any appropriations rider that would block or delay implementation of the gainful employment regulation or other student protections from unscrupulous actors.


Coalition Letter on Implementation of the Gainful Employment Regulation (May 2016)

Letter from more than 50 organizations and advocates for students, consumers, veterans, service members, faculty and staff, civil rights and college access to Education Secretary John King thanking him for the Department’s commitment to fully implement the gainful employment regulation in 2016.


Coalition Letter Calling on Department of Education to Halt Federal Funding for Predatory Schools That Deny Students’ Legal Rights (March 2016)

Letter from 47 organizations in support of the citizen petition submitted to the Department of Education by Public Citizen requesting that the Department require educational institutions to agree, as a condition on receipt of Title IV assistance, not to include pre-dispute arbitration clauses in enrollment and other contracts with students.


Coalition Letter on Improving the Relief Process for Defrauded Students (March 2016)

Letter from more than 30 organizations and advocates working on behalf of students, consumers, veterans, faculty and staff, civil rights and college access urging the U.S. Department of Education to discharge more quickly and efficiently the federal loans of defrauded students under current regulations and to propose regulations that will make it easier, not harder, for such borrowers to get the relief they are entitled to under existing law. The letter expresses concern about the slow pace and small number of loan discharges approved to date and that many of the Department’s proposals in the current negotiated rulemaking process move in the wrong direction: reducing eligibility for relief, pitting students against schools, and creating unnecessary burdens on students and the Department.


Coalition Letter to Education Department on Proposed Complaint Tracking System (February 2016)

Letter to Acting Education Secretary John King from 51 organizations that advocate on behalf of students, consumers, veterans, faculty and staff, civil rights, and college access responding to the Department of Education’s request for comments on the proposed Enterprise Complaint System. The organizations applaud the Department for proposing a student and borrower complaint tracking system that accepts complaints about loans, other aid, and colleges, while urging the Department to make the system public, searchable, and connected to the systems at other agencies.


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