September 25 2014
Carrie L. Lukas
America needs a higher education system that provides a wide variety of learning opportunities for women and men of all ages and from all backgrounds, and that efficiently delivers real value to students, preparing them to participate in the modern economy.
Many are concerned that our higher education system is failing on that last measure: Higher education costs have been rapidly increasing for decades, and today many students accrue large loan debts without gaining the skills necessary to secure jobs that pay enough to make ends meet.
The Administration has proposed a “gainful employment rule,” which they claim would address this problem, by rendering educational programs that fail to meet specific criteria for post-employment outcomes and student debt loads ineligible for student loans. However, this rule unfairly targets only a subset of schools that serve non-traditional, lower-income student populations. It would result in fewer educational opportunities for this group, and do little to encourage greater efficiency in the higher education arena across the board.
There are better ways to improve the higher education system, such as requiring greater transparency, encouraging the development of a wider variety of lower-cost education and degree-granting options, and reforming the student loan system.
In the meantime, the gainful employment rule should be rejected once again as an unfair mechanism that would destroy educational opportunities for those who need it most.