U.S. Department of Education Regulation Denies Access to Millions of New Traditional Students


Washington, D.C., October 30, 2014 – Following the release of the final gainful employment regulation, Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, released the following statement:

“The gainful employment regulation is nothing more than a bad-faith attempt to cut off access to education for millions of students who have been historically underserved by higher education. Regulations created and issued based on bias against certain institutions have no place in our country. Furthermore, the debt-to-earnings metric is arbitrary and capricious.

“Once again the Department elected to arbitrarily change metrics and regulations to favor certain institutions over others. In this case, the Department favored public institutions that benefit from generous taxpayer operational subsidies, but have lower graduation rates and higher default rates, over programs at private sector institutions where graduates are achieving real earning gains and successfully repaying their loans.

“We are hopeful that the Congress will consider the best interests of all students when they reauthorize the Higher Education Act and develop policies that apply to all students, in all programs, at all institutions.

“While the Department made adjustments to the regulation, the fundamental issues remain unchanged, including:

  • the regulation is targeted against institutions that serve the new traditional student instead of all of higher education;
  • the regulation fails to consider a student’s finances or demographics; and
  • the regulation uses very early-year earnings to measure the worth of education over a graduate’s lifetime.
“Students enrolled in programs preparing them for in-demand careers like medical and dental assisting, network systems administration, HVAC repair and pharmacy technician will lose access. If this regulation were applied evenly across all of higher education, students seeking a law degree from George Washington University Law School, a bachelor’s in Hospitality Administration from Stephen F. Austin State University and a bachelor’s in Social Work from University of Texas would lose access as well.

“We will vigorously contest all these issues to help ensure that students, employers and communities are not harmed by such an arbitrary and biased regulation.”

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