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Greenberg: Ruling Keeps For-Profit Schools on Edge

The U.S. Department of Education handed down a timeline on Friday for deciding 14 issues related to regulating the for-profit college industry, continuing to cause volatility for those companies.

Among those firms are Education Management , ITT Education , Apollo Group , Strayer Education , Corinthian Colleges and Bridgepoint Education .

Rules related to a program’s eligibilityto receive federal aid now will be published in early 2011, rather than on or around November 1 of this year, as had originally been planned.

The department said that it delayed action to take more time to consider the comments received.

Regardless, the rules will go into effect next July 1, as expected. Also, the other 13 rules will be published on schedule, including:

  • Blocking the compensation of admissions officers based solely on the their success in enrolling students
  • Requiring states to authorize post-secondary schools in order for them to participate in federal aid
  • Creating a standard to determine the definition of a credit hour
  • Determining when a student has withdrawn

In light of the enormous lobbying effort aimed at diluting or derailing rule changes, perhaps the most important part of the announcement was Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s language.

“We’re moving forward on gainful employment regulations," he said. "While a majority of career colleges play a vital role in training our workforce to be globally competitive, some bad actors are saddling students with debt they cannot afford, in exchange for degrees and certificates they can’t use.”

Next up: On Thursday, the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee will hold yet another hearing on for-profits.