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APLU Statement on U.S. Dept of Education’s Proposal to Completely Eliminate Gainful Employment Rule

Washington, DC –Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President Peter McPherson today released the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Education’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which would eliminate the gainful employment rule.

“We are deeply concerned with the Department of Education’s proposal to completely eliminate the gainful employment rule. Doing so would be a mistake for which students and taxpayers would ultimately suffer the consequences.

“The gainful employment rule is targeted to address the greatest risks to taxpayers and students within higher education. Instead of offering a proposal aimed at addressing reasonable and justified concerns such as issues of institutional reporting burden, the Department proposes the most extreme route of outright eliminating the rule. This would leave students much more vulnerable to taking on debt for academic credentials of little value. The complete elimination of the gainful employment rule would jeopardize not just the futures of students, but also taxpayers who ultimately will subsidize poor-performing programs and the integrity of the Title IV federal financial aid system.

“We do, however, appreciate the Department’s proposal to enhance the College Scorecard with more data, including earnings by program. This is a step APLU has urged and will support if done right. As examples, the data should look at both short and long-term outcomes and differentiate earnings for those who completed their degree programs versus those who did not. However, enhancing transparency alone is not enough. It is strongly in the interests of the Department and students to not just identify the worst performing programs, but to also ensure students aren’t borrowing from the federal government debt that cannot be repaid.”

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