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

Harkin Statement on Department of Education’s Proposed Gainful Employment Rule

Friday, March 14, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today released the following statement regarding the Department of Education’s proposed gainful employment rule:

“I am grateful the Secretary moved forward with the re-regulation of this important rule. Based on what I’ve seen so far, however, I once again have serious concerns with this proposed rule’s ability to protect students and taxpayers from costly programs that consistently overpromise and under-deliver.  I will review the rule closely and hope that it will be strengthened during the comment process.”

Harkin, as Chairman of the HELP Committee, released a report on the findings of a two-year investigation of the for-profit higher education industry, which would be subject to the gainful employment rule along with other career training programs.  The 2012 report showed that for-profit colleges accounted for approximately 12 percent of students, yet consumed almost 25 percent of the federal financial aid budget and accounted 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 despite a $32 billion annual investment by taxpayers in the schools.

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