Education Department Signals Possible Changes to Gainful-Employment Rule

In documents released this week ahead of a negotiated rule-making session on the gainful-employment rule, the Department of Education signaled potential limits to the Obama-era regulation that went into effect last year.

The gainful-employment regulation was written to weed out poor-performing career education programs that produce too many graduates with debt they can't repay. To hold programs accountable, it ties access to federal student aid funds to performance on a debt-to-earnings metric.

For-profit colleges sued twice to block the rule, but it went into effect last year and the first set of full data for career programs subject to the rule was released in January. However, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in June that she would appoint a rule-making panel to overhaul the rule, taking account of many of the complaints from colleges.

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