Washington, D.C. – Former Congressman Steve Gunderson, the president and chief executive officer of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) today issued the following statement in response to the Department of Education’s release of gainful employment figures:
“The Department of Education’s so-called ‘gainful employment’ regulation has always been and remains today a faulty metric that does not accurately measure the services provided by career colleges and universities. We have always believed it is an unlawful regulation that the Education Department does not have the legal authority to implement, and for that reason, we filed a lawsuit in July 2011 against its promulgation. This burdensome regulation, if implemented as currently construed, will deny access for hundreds of thousands of Americans such as working parents, veterans and other non-traditional students who have oftentimes taken a different path when seeking and obtaining their postsecondary education.
“Worse yet, we are already learning from many of our members that there are severe concerns about flaws with the Department’s ‘gainful employment’ data. In some instances, schools have not received the rates for all of the programs for which they submitted information, and in others, not all of the metric information was readily available. There have also been reports that student and loan files are incorrect and that the Education Department does not even have correct data on the amount of federal debt for students or schools.
“The Department of Education’s ‘gainful employment’ regulation has an unfortunate history using erroneous metrics regarding student demographics and repayment rates, while dismissing the impact on minority students who represent 39 percent of all career college graduates and rely almost exclusively on federal financial aid to attend them. It also seeks to impose a set of one-size-fits-all rules by failing to consider the realities of regional and even local economic or occupational wage differences – especially in inner city and rural areas.
“We will continue to encourage our members and everyone else to accept this data for what it is – an initial attempt by the Department to determine how to implement an incredibly complicated and defective program. Private sector colleges and universities have a mission of education for employment and careers. America faces a demand for eight to 23 million additional workers with postsecondary education over the next decade, but this regulation seeks to only impose a series of faulty numerical metrics that ignore the economic reality of inner-city and rural areas, education’s long-term benefits and the will of the Congress.”