Holding Schools Responsible For The Cost of Student Loans
There are new rules being proposed for-profit colleges, universities and schools by the Department of Education that would hold them accountable for the education and cost of that education that is being provided to students in programs which prepare them for gainful employment.
The government is worried about the number of these post-secondary educational programs that are neither responsible nor acting in a transparent way to students which are enrolling in a number of expensive programs, leaving the students stuck with a massive student loan debt and unable to make smart decisions before they sign on the dotted line.
One of the propositions is that to remain eligible for government student loans, these for-profit schools, colleges, and universities would need to supply information to all the students who are enrolling, in order to better help them make informed decisions about the income from the field of study versus the cost of education. Basically, they are going to tell you information that can be considered pertinent when picking a career. Would you choose to study something like marine biology (yeah sounds nice why not right?) if you would graduate with over $40,000 in debt and it will be close to impossible finding a job in that field, and once you do your salary will not make it possible for you to pay your student loan debt in 10 years? Maybe some students would reconsider, maybe some would still jump in and get that degree. The important is that at least the schools are providing them with that useful information. So the Department of Education is on the lookout for education being sold for occupations which pay really low wages and do not justify the program cost.
The DOE (Department of Education) has noticed that these for-profit schools aren’t alone in the whole “cost vs benefit” problem that is happening and the new proposed regulations would also cover non-degree programs at public and private non-for-profit institutions like community colleges.
The Department of Education is very concerned about the number of programs that do not really train the students in the skills they need to obtain and maintain jobs in the fields for which the program alleges to provide training for. How many college graduates these days have we not heard say things like “I never learned that in college, but it is a requirement for this position I wanted to apply to”?. Well the number of students who did not receive proper training while in college is growing, as fast as the student loan debt.
Additionally, schools will also need to be accountable for their “churn” rates. What? Say what? “churn” rate is a term to describe when there is a high number of withdrawals or the schools are failing to graduate a number of students through the completed field of study.
Besides being concerned with the quality and completion of certain educational programs that are being sold to students, the Department of Education is also worried about how many prospective students are being misled and pressured which distorts their ability to make critical decisions in regards to investing in their education.
Because of all these problems, the Department of Education would like to implement certain “accountability and transparency” disclosures which will not only aid prospective students in making smarter choices before investing ridiculous amounts of money or taking on a vast debt, but will also control which school programs will continue to be eligible for access to government loans for their training programs.
The accountability structure is designed to establish what exactly means to prepare students for gainful employment by establishing measures that would assess whether programs provide quality education and training to their students that lead to earnings that will allow students to pay back their student loan debts.
The transparency structure is designed to define certain reporting and disclosure requirements that would increase the transparency of student outcomes of gainful employment programs so that information is disseminated to students, prospective students, and their families that is accurate and comparable and could help them make better informed decisions about where to invest their time and money in pursuit of a postsecondary degree or credential.
Do you feel that this is something the Department of Education should put into action? Well they want to hear from you! They are asking for consumer feedback from people like you!
Since March 25th, 2014 you can provide your thoughts and opinions about this new proposed gainful employment regulation by going to www.regulations.gov and search for ED-2014-OPE-0039. You can also go to this link (we hope it works for you): http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=ED-2014-OPE-0039
You have until May 25th, 2014 to provide your personal thoughts and feedback about these regulations.
IF you believe that schools need to me held accountable about the cost and quality of the education they provide to their students and need to disclose that information, then please take some time to post your comments to the Department of Education.