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ICYMI: Administration Awarded Two Pinocchios for Gainful Employment Claim


Despite facing broad opposition from the education stakeholders, elected officials, and the federal court system, the Obama administration is moving forward with a so-called gainful employment regulation that will harm low-income students and threaten the strength of our higher education system.

In their zeal to gin up public support for its misguided regulatory proposal, the administration is citing some misleading facts. Chief among these false claims is the idea that 72 percent of proprietary school programs have graduates earning less than high school dropouts. Now The Fact Checker at the Washington Post is calling out the department for making such a “bogus” claim:

In straining for a striking factoid, the Education Department went too far. Officials calculated a relatively high figure for the earnings of high school dropouts, compared to other available data. Then they compared it to average wages that likely were adversely affected by recent graduates unable to find employment.

Not only were these two data points apples and oranges, but the entire comparison to high school dropouts is fairly bogus. There’s a reason academic researchers have not tried to compare the earnings of graduates for-profit colleges to the earnings of high school dropouts — it also would be considered an apples and oranges comparison unworthy of research.

Academic research suggests there are real differences in earning power between attendees of for-profit colleges and high school dropouts. That’s also intuitive, suggesting there is something basically wrong with the statistic.

The Obama administration should stick with the facts and withdraw this misguided regulatory venture. The American people deserve no less.

To read the rest of The Fact Checker’s post, click here.

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