Education or Exploitation: Is For-profit Education an Investment or a Scam? Part 2

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In the face of complaints about for-profit colleges, the Department of Education is proposing to strengthen the Gainful Employment Rule. The new rule will allow prospective students to evaluate and compare schools before enrolling and incurring student loan debt.

The new Gainful Employment Rule proposal would require schools to make available data on the debt to earnings ratio of its graduates and a programmatic cohort default rate for loans. The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) takes issue with both measures, claiming that the proposal is “flawed, arbitrary, and biased,” and will deny over 7 million students access to education over the next decade. According to APSCU the proposed rule would affect 44% of students enrolled at for-profit colleges. It also claims that the gainful employment rule has failed to fully analyze the regulation’s impact on underserved students and in-demand programs, and that, if implemented, the rule would have an unprecedented impact on millions of students and thousands of programs.

In refutation, the proposal’s supporters argue that underserved students attending for-profit colleges attend because they want to have access to higher education to better their future. Instead they currently incur an outrageous amount of debt and a degree that they cannot use, leaving them with no job prospects and no means of paying back loans. Supporters assert that many individuals have been targeted, subjected to high pressure tactics to enroll, left with thousands of dollars in debt and have only a subpar education to show for it.

If implemented, the strengthened rule could be beneficial to for-profit colleges by ensuring institutional credibility and increasing student job placement rates due to proper accreditation and licensing. Education is often proclaimed as the way to rise above meager circumstances and secure a better future. This idea is being pursued by millions of people who fail to realize the promise in this notion because they have been victims of a subpar education. Without regulation of educational programs, people are left to gamble with whether they are investing in an education or a financing a scam.

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Posted by Bianca A. Kegler on Wed. July 9, 2014 12:54 PM
Categories: Student Research
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