US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Harkin Statement on Gainful Employment Rule

Thursday, June 02, 2011

WASHINGTON – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds education, released the following statement on the final Gainful Employment rule:

“The Department of Education’s Gainful Employment rule is a modest and important first step to protect students and taxpayers from subprime academic programs that have a demonstrated track record of failure.  At a time when Congress is concerned about the growing deficit, we should not turn a blind eye to the waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars.”

Over the past year, Chairman Harkin has led a HELP Committee investigation into the practices of the for-profit education industry, which would be subject to the gainful employment rule along with other career training programs.  For-profit colleges account for just 10% of students, yet consume almost 25% of the federal financial aid budget –$30 billion last year—and account for almost half of all student loan defaults.  Between 2009 and 2010 more than half a million students at for-profit colleges left with debt but no diploma. 

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