EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE:
12:01 a.m., June 2, 2011
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On U.S. Education Department’s Final Regulation
on Gainful Employment
Regulation protects students from unqualified career college programs and unmanageable student-loan debt.
WASHINGTON—This regulation is a modest step to help protect students from inflated promises about job prospects and earnings by career education programs that often leave students with no gainful employment but a mountain of debt. This problem is particularly pernicious in the for-profit sector, where student debt and loan default rates are significantly higher than in the nonprofit sector.
The rule also will better ensure that limited federal student aid does what it is supposed to do—help students succeed. Most for-profit programs rely almost exclusively on federal student aid dollars. They charge nearly six times the tuition of community colleges, and receive nearly 25 percent of all Pell Grant money and 25 percent of all federal student loans. Nearly 50 percent of student loan defaulters attend for-profit programs.
While this rule is a step in the right direction—accomplished amid intensive lobbying against it—there is more work to be done. We look forward to working with the Education Department to strengthen and implement this new rule. We also will be working with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) as he continues Senate hearings looking into waste, fraud and abuse in the career education industry.
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.