In 2014, the U.S. Department of Education adopted the “gainful employment” rule to address overwhelming evidence that some postsecondary career training programs, particularly at for-profit institutions, were failing to prepare students for jobs that would enable them to repay their federal student debt, thus endangering the federal government’s investment in these schools by way of federal student aid and leaving some students worse off than they would have been had they never pursued postsecondary education. The rule imposes new accountability and disclosure requirements for certain career training programs.
Over the summer, the district court in D.C. upheld the rule against a challenge by the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU), the largest trade association of for-profit colleges, and APSCU appealed. Today, Public Citizen and 27 other groups filed an amicus brief in the D.C. Circuit urging it to uphold the rule. Amici argue:
[A]s overwhelming evidence in the administrative record demonstrates, some predatory for-profit institutions have been responsible for charging high prices to provide low-quality training, with few to no job placement opportunities and abysmal graduation rates. They have targeted underserved populations of students—including veterans and students of color—with shameful, and sometimes outright fraudulent, recruitment practices that have prompted numerous state and federal agency investigations and resulted in significant enforcement actions. The for-profit education industry has saddled many students with a lifetime of debt often ending in default, with devastating consequences for those students and the federal fisc.
You can read our whole brief here.