U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) on Tuesday announced plans to introduce legislation that aims to crack down on "predatory" institutions, including for-profit colleges.
The Preventing Risky Operations from Threatening the Education and Career Trajectories of Students Act, or PROTECT Students Act, would provide "common-sense" consumer protections for students and hold predatory institutions accountable when they engage in deceptive and fraudulent practices, according to a press release.
The legislation would:
- Close the 90/10 rule loophole—that encourages for-profit colleges to target veterans—by counting veterans’ education benefits as federal dollars
- Restore the cap on the amount of revenue for-profit colleges can receive from federal sources to the original 85 percent—down from the current 90 percent
- Crack down on career education programs that fail to prepare students for good-paying jobs by codifying the 2014 gainful employment regulations
- Codify and strengthen the 2016 borrower defense regulation
- Ban the use of mandatory pre-dispute arbitration and class action restrictions that prevent students from bringing misconduct suits against their institutions in court
- Codify an Enforcement Unit within FSA to investigate allegations of misconduct by institutions, among other things.
"For our students and veterans to receive the quality education that they deserve, we must ensure that they are protected from predatory practices that too often occur at for-profit colleges and other higher education institutions," Senator Hassan said.
"For-profit colleges enroll just 9 percent of all postsecondary students but account for 34 percent of all federal student loan defaults. Add to that widespread predatory practices and a unique propensity within higher education for massive precipitous collapses, and the for-profit college industry continues to represent a disproportionate risk to students and taxpayers," Senator Durbin said. "Any Higher Education Act reauthorization must address these realities head-on. The PROTECT Students Act does that."
U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan's Press Release