Protect Students and Taxpayers from Career Education Rip-Offs!

Protect Students and Taxpayers from Career Education Rip-Offs!

The Department of Education is working on a rule to protect students and taxpayers from rip-off career education programs. Tell the Department that the rule needs to prompt schools to quickly improve or end weak programs that consistently leave students with debts they can't pay.

The data the Department released in conjunction with its proposed rule are alarming. For example, at 114 programs there are more students who default on their loans than graduate.

It's time to demand that these programs improve. Below is some sample language to help make your voice heard. We'll send your statement to the Education Department as well as your U.S. senators and representative. If you have a personal story, telling it will help protect the one million students the Department acknowledges are enrolled in programs that don't meet its modest proposed standards.

Take action now!

Message

Thank you for proposing regulations to protect students and taxpayers from career education programs that consistently leave students with debts they cannot repay. It is essential that the Department of Education enforce current federal law requiring these programs to prepare students for gainful employment. The Department should require career education programs receiving federal student aid to effectively train students for careers without saddling them with unmanageable student loan payments.

The data the Department released in conjunction with its proposed rule are alarming. For example, at 114 programs there are more students who default on their loans than graduate.

To adequately protect students and taxpayers and prompt schools to quickly improve or end weak programs, the final rule needs to be strengthened by:

  1. Providing financial relief for students in programs that lose eligibility. Schools with ineffective programs that lose eligibility for federal aid should be required to make whole the students who enrolled in the program. Providing full relief to all such students is not only fair, it also creates a greater incentive for schools to quickly improve their programs.

  2. Limiting enrollment in poorly performing programs until they improve. Under the draft regulation, poorly performing programs can increase the number of students they enroll, without limit, right up until the day the programs lose eligibility. The rule should, instead, impose enrollment caps until a program improves.

  3. Closing loopholes and raising standards. The proposed regulation is too easy to game, and its standards are too low. For example, programs can pass the standards even when 99% of their students drop out with heavy debts that they cannot pay down. Unscrupulous schools can easily manipulate job placement rates or evade accountability by limiting program size. They can exclude the debt of graduates who enroll in a program for just one day and can enroll students in online programs that lack the accreditation needed to be hired in the states where the students live. These types of loopholes need to be closed and the standards raised.

  4. Protecting low-cost programs where most graduates don't borrow. Low-cost programs where most graduates do not borrow at all should automatically meet the standards because, by definition, these programs do not consistently leave students with unaffordable debts. Burdening these programs with a complicated appeals process could prompt more schools to leave the federal student loan program and lead to the closure of effective, low-cost programs.

These four changes are essential to adequately protect both students and taxpayers. We strongly urge you to include them in the final rule.