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Letter to the Senate HELP Committee on Gainful Employment Regulations

March 10, 2011

Dear Senator:


The National Education Association (NEA) would like to provide you with some important information in advance of today’s hearing in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on “Bridgepoint Education, Inc.: A Case study in For-Profit Education and Oversight.”  This hearing offers a critical opportunity to address essential regulations by the Department of Education on “gainful employment” that would help protect students from deceptive practices employed by some career education programs. 

We were very disappointed that the House passed an amendment to its full-year FY2011 continuing resolution that would block implementation of the regulations.  Numerous investigations have revealed pervasive abuses by some career education programs: deceptive and aggressive recruiting of students; inflated job placement rates and false reporting to authorities; overstatement of a program’s value and understatement of its high cost; and dismal completion rates.  Too many of these programs are preying on low-income students, minority students, and veterans seeking to further their education and, by doing so, enhance their employment opportunities.

The proposed gainful employment rule implements requirements set by Congress and advances a common-sense principle: Federal financial aid shouldn’t go to career education programs that consistently leave students buried in debt they cannot repay.

The subprime mortgage debacle and ensuing financial crisis taught our country a hard lesson about letting such abuses run rampant.  Congress should make the right decision for our students and our economy by allowing implementation of this common-sense rule.

We have attached for your information a coalition letter sent to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan last year supporting the proposed regulations and outlining ways in which the proposal could be further strengthened.  We hope this information is useful to you.

Thank you for your consideration of our views on this important issue.

Sincerely,

Kim Anderson         
Director of Government Relations

Mary Kusler
Manager of Federal Advocacy