Friday, July 23, 2010

Education Department Issues Proposed Regulations on "Gainful Employment" and Other Key Issues

This is a brief update on regulatory activity by the U.S. Department of Education that has major implications for community colleges.

On June 18, the Department of Education released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on "program integrity." The regulations cover a wide variety of issues and have generated a great deal of controversy, in part because they are generally targeted at abuses by for-profit institutions. Comments are due on this proposed rule by August 2nd.

AACC has worked closely with the American Council on Education in developing formal comments to be submitted by all of higher education, but it also plans to submit its own comments on issues related to "gainful employment." We encourage you to examine AACC's DRAFT comments and to submit similar comments.

Lastly, earlier today the Department of Education made available a notice of proposed rulemaking that fleshes out its approach on the "gainful employment" issue. This regulation has major implications for community college certificate training programs, and indeed for all of higher education, given that the regulation involves the federal government in new ways in evaluating and determining eligibility for higher education programs. For more information, see Inside Higher Education's story on the regulations and the regulation itself.

AACC will be developing a community college response to this regulation in the coming weeks—comments will be due in early September—and in doing so, will strive to balance the clear need for the Federal government to exert greater quality control over profit-driven institutions, along with the need to ensure that community colleges aren't subject to inappropriate regulations and/or sanctions because of abuses by other institutions.

These issues are complicated and important, and we encourage your engagement with them. Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.