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Letter to the House Education and the Workforce Committee Regarding Gainful Employment Regulations

March 17, 2011

Dear Representative:

The National Education Association (NEA) would like to provide you with some important information in advance of today’s hearing on “Education Regulations: Roadblocks to Student Choice in Higher Education" in the Committee on Education and the Workforce.  NEA believes that student access to higher education is a paramount goal, but also believes in protecting the integrity of student aid programs.  This hearing offers a critical opportunity to address these issues through the Department of Education’s regulatory program.  We believe strongly that the Department also needs to implement the proposed “gainful employment” regulation 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 gainful employment 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.

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


Kim Anderson         
Director of Government Relations

Mary Kusler
Manager of Federal Advocacy