Posts Tagged ‘gainful employment regulations’

The debate on proposed regulation of for-profit colleges [“How to discourage college students,” editorial, Aug. 22] missed the larger point: As a nation we are failing to connect the dots between college and careers. Our research shows that college is increasingly the only path to middle-class earning power. Students need user-friendly information about the costs of postsecondary education and the potential earnings in their chosen career if they are to successfully become part of tomorrow’s workforce.

We need to do a better job of connecting the dots between the costs and returns of postsecondary education. In truth, the basic data already exist in the form of wage records, transcript and program data, figures on job openings and detailed information on occupational competencies. Properly assembled, such an information system would minimize, though not eliminate, the future need for aggressive federal oversight or state-level regulation, a matter at the heart of the current debate. Rather than get sidetracked by discord, our common goal should be to compile this information effectively and make it publicly available.

Anthony P. Carnevale, Washington

The writer is director of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.

So maybe we should rate for-profit colleges on whether their graduates can turn a profit and measure their “profitability” by the default rate on their students’ loans? This makes at least as much sense as some of the yearly high-stakes, minimum-standards testing that drives (down) much of the curriculum in many K-12 public schools. If we implement this standard, let’s make sure the for-profit colleges don’t meet the standards by reducing the percentage of poor students admitted.

Have the goal be 100 percent on-time loan repayment by 2014 for all economic categories — poor, lower-middle-income, middle-income, high-income — and 100 percent repayment for separate sub-categories: special education students, English-language-learners, fine arts majors, etc. Or is such an approach “good” for public schools but somehow not so good for for-profit corporations?


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Joyce Migdall, Falls Church

The Department’s proposed rules for “gainful employment” underestimate the number of borrowers who are repaying their student loans, according to a recent policy analysis by Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of and

If the Department overestimates the number of students who are not in repayment, some programs could be unfairly penalized for not meeting the proposed gainful employment requirements. In his analysis, The Impact of ‘Persistence of Interest’ on Loan Repayment Rates, Kantrowitz contends that the Department’s proposal “fails to give credit for all borrowers who are making full payments on their loans.”

The Department’s proposal would include an annual loan repayment rate test that would measure the percentage of borrowers who are successfully reducing the principal of their FFEL and Direct Loans. The Department would measure whether borrowers are actually repaying their loans by comparing snapshots of a borrower’s principal balance at the start and end of the most recent federal fiscal year. But, since loan payments are applied to accrued interest before principal, borrowers could be making full loan payments on their loans without actually paying down their loan debt, according to Kantrowitz.
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