Delaying Gainful Employment Rule’s Disclosure Requirements Leaves Students Vulnerable to Exploitation and Fraud.
New York, NY - July 19, 2018 - Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood – part of a coalition of 17 Attorneys General – submitted public comments to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, arguing that the further delay of the Gainful Employment Rule’s disclosure requirements is unnecessarily harmful to student borrowers, an abrogation of the Department’s responsibilities to protect students and taxpayers, not adequately justified, and violates the rulemaking requirements of the Higher Education Act.
The Gainful Employment Rule, among its strong protections for students, included a requirement that covered educational institutions provide prospective students with accurate information about their educational programs, including the total cost of the program, the average debt load, the student loan default rate, and the average earnings of program graduates to ensure that students fully understand the financial implications of choosing to attend. These disclosures were also intended to address concerns about widespread aggressive and deceptive marketing and recruiting practices by for-profit colleges. These disclosures were required to be provided in schools’ promotional materials, and directly to prospective students before the students make a commitment to the institution.
The delay, announced in June, is the third time that the Department has prevented the Gainful Employment Rule’s required disclosures on promotional materials and directly to students from going into effect.
“Over and over again, the Trump-DeVos Department of Education has put special interests before the students they’re supposed to serve,” said Attorney General Underwood. “The Gainful Employment Rule is critical to ensuring students can make informed decision about their education – and the Department’s continued delays only leave students vulnerable to exploitation and fraud.”
In the letter, the Attorneys General note, “Students count on the Department to protect their interests and ensure that schools participating in the federal student loan program treat them fairly and give them accurate information to assist them in their decisions. In addition, taxpayers count on the Department to ensure accountability from schools that receive federal funds.”
The Attorneys General call on the Department to fulfill its responsibilities to students and taxpayers and cease its efforts to postpone a critical deadline for the issuance of disclosures required by the Gainful Employment Rule.
The letter was signed by the Attorneys General of Maryland, Virginia, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Illinois, Hawaii, Oregon, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, Delaware, California, New York, and North Carolina.