Gainful Employment?

Posted: August 20, 2010 in Commentary
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Millions of college students are getting ready to go back to school. Millions more adult students attending year-round institutions are about to enter their next term. Among the common questions: Will this all be worth it? Having a clearer picture would sure be nice.

The U.S. Department of Education is trying to give students that clearer picture and protection from making what it deems could be wrong choices. How? With its new regulation called “Gainful Employment.”

It would apply a formula to programs in career-oriented majors, like healthcare, business and education to name a few, to decide which ones lead to ‘Gainful Employment.’ Those that do not would be eliminated. Students would also get concrete information about graduation rates, employment rates, potential salaries in their chosen field, loan debt info and the like before they choose their school. This information should help students analyze their risk/reward scenario.

The disclosure requirement is an excellent idea; it helps students compare their options. It
should be implemented at all schools. As for setting standards to see if programs yield Gainful Employment? It could be a good idea, if the regulation’s measurements and mechanisms are derived correctly. But that’s not easy.

For example, one key factor in recent draft regulations – a specially calculated federal student-loan repayment rate – shows many fine and varied institutions from Alabama State University to Harvard University Medical School dramatically failing that metric. This points to the proposed approach being somehow flawed.

By Randy Pronto, read the rest here –


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