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Education & Labor Committee Republicans

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Members Denounce New Gainful Employment Regulation

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC), and Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) criticized the Department of Education’s new draft of the gainful employment regulation, noting the regulation will disproportionately harm low-income students and threaten the strength of the nation’s higher education system.

“I am extremely troubled by the department’s latest iteration of the gainful employment regulation,” Chairman Kline said. “This regulation has been widely criticized for years, facing opposition from a broad swath of the higher education community, Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and even the federal court system. But instead of reversing course and working with Congress on smart policies to strengthen the postsecondary education system, the Obama administration has chosen to double-down on a proposal that threatens postsecondary institutions’ ability to continue to serve students and communities well.”

Chairman Kline continued, “At a time when demand is great and the stakes are high, government should focus on increasing education opportunities, not unjustly penalizing institutions that are trying to prepare students and workers for a changing economy.”

Rep. Foxx stated, “We all agree that schools that fail to deliver the education and opportunity they promise should be held accountable, but this is a complex issue that should be dealt with via the ongoing reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Instead of working with Congress to find a real solution to this problem, the Administration seems determined to resort to arbitrary metrics that hinder student choice and create red tape for institutions.”

“I am deeply disappointed by the department’s suggested approach, which will disproportionately harm non-traditional and lower-income students who have no choice but to rely on student loans in order to pursue a postsecondary education, and need the flexibility career colleges provide,” said Rep. Hastings. “I, along with others in Congress, am ready and willing to work with the department to ensure that we better protect our students and improve the quality and accessibility of educational opportunities across all sectors.”

The draft regulation released this morning has doubled in length, from 436 pages in 2013 to an astonishing 841 pages. The public has been granted only 60 days to review the regulation, examine its consequences, and submit comments or feedback to the Department of Education. In 2013 the House Education and the Workforce Committee approved with bipartisan support the Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act (H.R. 2637), legislation that would eliminate the threat of the gainful employment regulation and other unnecessarily burdensome federal regulations affecting postsecondary institutions. To learn more about H.R. 2637, click here.

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