Friday, June 16, 2017

Administration suspends rules aimed at protecting students from predatory, for-profit colleges

President Trump and Education Secretary
Betsy DeVos (AP photo by Evan Vucci)
"The Trump administration is suspending two key rules from the Obama administration that were intended to protect students from predatory for-profit colleges, saying it will soon start the process to write its own regulations," reports Valerie Strauss of The Washington Post. Such colleges are prevalent in rural areas or tend to attract a disproportionate number of students from young adults in rural areas.

One rule, Strauss reports, "requires that action be taken — including possible expulsion from the federal student-aid program — against vocational programs whose graduates leave with heavy student loan debt; 98 percent of the programs that officials found to have failed to meet those standards are offered by for-profit colleges." Part of that rule was already in effect.

The other rule, which was set to take effect July 1, "relieves students of all federal loans if a school used illegal or deceptive tactics to persuade students to borrow money to attend," Strauss notes. The rules were issued after several years of study by the Obama administration.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said the rules were unfair to students and schools, and could "put taxpayers on the hook for significant costs." Critics accused her "of essentially selling out students to help for-profit colleges stay in business," Strauss reports. However, the United Negro College Fund and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, a lobby for historically black colleges and universities, "sent a letter to DeVos this week urging her to put a hold on the implementation of the regulations and reconsider them," partly because they are vague.

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