July 08, 2014 by Latasha Myers
With the public comment period for the proposed “gainful employment” regulations long closed, we have time to look back at what we’ve accomplished and see what work is still to be done.
With the help of borrowers, students, parents, and advocates from around the country, tens of thousands of comments were submitted to the U.S. Department of Education urging them to issue a stronger final “gainful employment” rule.
Too many students have been lured by fancy commercials and dishonest recruiters into enrolling at low-grade, for-profit colleges or career education programs. Take, for example, Mike DiGiacomo, a veteran who was promised by a for-profit college recruiter that he could take a fast track to a career as a video game designer. What DiGiacomo got instead was "poor training and a worthless degree" and more than $85,000 in student loan debt. Stories like his, unfortunately, are not an anomaly.
Career education programs promise students a quality education that will land them a well-paying job after graduation; they also promise federal and state governments that their students will have specialty job skills that are in high demand. When these programs fail to deliver on their promises, students are left with mountains of loan debt and no useful skills. In turn, millions of tax dollars, in the form of financial aid, have been wasted, and American companies lack the high quality workforce they need.
We must hold career education programs accountable for the students they enroll and the taxpayers they defraud. Actions like DiGiacomo’s petition, which got more than 100,000 signatures asking for a stronger final “gainful employment rule,” are just the first steps.
Although the public comment period has ended, predatory colleges will not rest, and that means we cannot rest either. Continue to apply pressure and tell the department that students deserve a stronger “gainful employment” rule:
- You can tweet @usedgov
- Share this graphic about poor graduation rates at for-profit colleges on Facebook
- Share your personal story
- Take part in the national #AccessMeans campaign on Instagram
Between now and October, when the department is set to announce a final gainful rule, officials need to continue to hear our support.
Thanks for all that you have done, and keep it up! Together, our voices can be louder than those who only seek to profit off of defrauding students and taxpayers. The U.S. Department of Education hears us and will crack the whip as long as we keep putting the pressure on them.