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senate Bill S. 3371

Should For-Profit Colleges Have to be Accredited & Show That Graduates Find Gainful Employment?

Argument in favor

All higher education institutions, regardless of tax status, should uphold their obligation to students by providing quality educations that lead to gainful employment in students’ fields of study. Making federal funds contingent upon institutions fulfilling this obligation is a commonsense consumer protection that will help students make informed decisions.

burrkitty's Opinion
···
09/02/2018
If you call yourself a College, you need to be ACCREDITED. “Degrees” from non-accredited sources have another name: FRAUDULENT! Literally not worth the paper they are printed on.
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Chickie's Opinion
···
09/02/2018
To vote ‘Nay’ on this bill would prove the extent of this administration to promote support for big business, (including for-profit-colleges/universities). If passed, this bill would not support the individual student, but to support the ‘business’. This has been the pattern of this administration. As our representatives, it is your RESPONSIBILITY to stand by your constituents, not big business.
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John's Opinion
···
09/02/2018
DeVos is a shill for the for-profit educational businesses. She helped ruin public schools in Michigan. Don’t trust her. Pass this bill!
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Argument opposed

Secretary DeVos’ proposed national database of all higher education institutions, not just for-profit and career programs, is a more comprehensive approach to helping students make educated decisions about their futures. The “gainful employment” standard may be inappropriate for certificate programs in certain professions, such as salons, which are tipped.

Poli.Sci's Opinion
···
09/02/2018
When I went to college, I understood what I had to do in order to make myself marketable. In the end I did not achieve what I thought I could do and that was my own fault. The same goes for all future students; if you want to go to the right college or trade school, do your research first. Adults need to be responsible for their choices and colleges that are not accredited already suffer from a lack of student enrollment. It is the college’s ability and desire to be accredited and non-profit/for-profit. If they choose not to, then so be it, but the Federal government should not step in and make any private company do what they “think” is better.
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TuckerWantsLiberty's Opinion
···
09/02/2018
This is legislation from someone who has no concept of economics, of business, or of how consumer demand in the marketplace works. The market will dictate if those requirements are necessary. Colleges will get them if that is what consumers demand. Conversely, maybe there is a whole market out there that is willing to forego those assurances in order to have a cheaper education, and this regulation would make college prohibitively expensive for those individuals. It might even allow more regulated colleges not to have to compete on cost against what are currently less regulated colleges. Maybe that type of cronyism is even the point of this bill - it's to help protect high-priced, high-regulated colleges from having to face low-cost, low-regulated competition.
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SneakyPete's Opinion
···
09/02/2018
THE RESPONSIBILITY RESTS WITH THE STUDENT I’m in full agreement with “Fredrick’s” comment in that Students need to take responsibility for their actions when choosing their educational goals. They are at liberty to choose whatever schools they wish to attend and they are of adult age to do so. If they do not properly research their and they make a bad educational decision as to which school to attend, why should they blame the people' they failed to research. Bad schools will have that enrollment and go away. Good schools, accredited schools, with good reputations will flourish and enrollments go up. Students need to take responsibility for their actions when choosing their educational goals. They are at liberty to choose whatever schools they wish to attend and they are of adult age to do so. The very definition of liberty is Freedom with responsibility! If not properly researched and they make a bad educational decision why should they blame the people they failed to research. Bad schools will have that enrollment and go away. Good schools, accredited schools, with good reputations will flourish and enrollments go up. Secretary DeVos’ proposed national database of all higher education institutions, not just for-profit and career programs, is a more comprehensive approach to helping students make educated decisions about their futures. The “gainful employment” standard may be inappropriate for certificate programs in certain professions, such as salons, which are tipped. 9*2*18 ................. SneakyPete.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    IntroducedAugust 23rd, 2018

What is Senate Bill S. 3371?

This bill — known as the Protecting Students from Worthless Degrees Act — would expand consumer protections for students and ensure that students and taxpayers are not left footing the bill for predatory and worthless degree programs. It would close a loophole that allows for-profit colleges to take federal financial aid dollars for students to attend unaccredited degree programs that often leave students deep in debt and unable to work in their chosen field, and require all programs to meet any federal or state licensure requirements and programmatic accreditation that is necessary for graduates to enter their intended field. Institutions failing to meet this consumer protection requirement would be ineligible to receive and federal student financial assistance, including Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, G.I. Bill benefits, or Department of Defense Tuition Assistance Funds.

It would also codify the certification requirements of the Gainful Employment rule, which Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has proposed eliminating. These requirements prevent career education programs from receiving Title IV federal student aid dollars if they fail to keep their promise that students will graduate with the requisite skills to find employment.

Impact

Recipients of federal student financial assistance; for-profit colleges; federal student financial aid programs; and the Department of Education.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 3371

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced this bill to protect students from predatory for-profit colleges that offer worthless degrees:

“Higher education should be a path to the American Dream, but that dream is shattered if when students graduate, they find that their degrees are worthless. Predatory programs that claim to provide career preparation but instead leave students unable to work and holding the bag have no business being funded by American taxpayers… Congress needs to stand up to these predatory programs that hurt students more than they help.”

The Education Department adopted rules threatening severe penalties to programs that mislead students on accreditation in 2011. However, New America Foundation’s Stephen Burd noted in 2012, “the Education Department doesn’t appear to be too eager to enforce these rules.” 

Under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Education Department has softened its stance on for-profit colleges further, gutting a major Obama-era regulation that cut off funding to low-performing programs, appointing a former for-profit college official to lead the team charged with policing fraud in higher education, halting the approval of new student-fraud claims brought against for-profit schools, weakening “borrower defense” for students of college or universities shut down for fraud and announcing plans to eliminate regulations forcing for-profit colleges to prove that they provide gainful employment to the students they enroll in July 2018.

In place of the “gainful employment” rule, Secretary DeVos’ new rule would provide students with more data about all of the United States’ high education institutions — not just career and for-profit college programs — including their average graduates’ debt, expected earnings after graduation, completion rates, program costs, accreditation, and other measures of institutional quality. In a statement about the proposed rule change, Secretary DeVos said:

“Students deserve useful and relevant data when making important decisions about their education post-high school. That’s why instead of targeting schools simply by their tax status, this administration is working to ensure students have transparent, meaningful information about all colleges and all programs. Our new approach will aid students across all sectors of higher education and improve accountability.”

Overall, Secretary DeVos defends her loosening of regulations on for-profit colleges as an effort to preserve for-profit schools as an option for non-traditional students. Her spokeswoman, Liz Hill, said Secretary DeVos is “committed to protecting students from bad actors while also ensuring they have multiple pathways to quality higher education,” adding that “it’s important that we continue to expand, not limit, paths to higher education for students. We can do that while also continuing to hold accountable those institutions that do not serve students well, no matter the institution’s tax status.”

Even some for-profit education leaders concede that the gainful employment rule has had its intended effect, improving the overall industry. Steve Gunderson, President of Career Education Colleges and Universities, the for-profit industry’s trade association, said that for-profit institutions adjusted programming to be more affordable and responsive to job markets, resulting in a better for-profit sector:

“The other side should declare victory and go home. The reality is every school that has a program that was failing gainful employment metrics — and they knew it couldn’t be fixed — they’ve already closed. The sector today is so much better.”

However, others in the for-profit education industry argue that gainful employment rules had substantial collateral damage. Michael Halmon, who founded the American Institute of Beauty to train people not cut out for college for careers as beauticians and barbers, is one of those people. Halmon’s American Institute of Beauty was among several schools that successfully sued the Education Department over the gainful employment rule, arguing that Education’s earnings data did not accurately reflect all sources of income, including the tips that are unique to the salon industry. Halmon said

“We are mom-and-pop businesses, not these huge Wall Street entities getting rich off of tens of thousands of students. We have a thriving industry, and it could have been decimated [by the gainful employment rule].”

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT)The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS), and Veterans Education Success (VES) support this bill.


Of NoteCurrently, due to a loophole in federal financial aid laws, schools that are institutionally accredited may offer individual programs that lack the state licensing or programmatic accreditation required for graduates to enter the field for which they were trained. Students who enter these programs are told they will be prepared for a particular job, only to discover after graduating — often with heavy student loan debt — they that are not qualified to work in their intended field, or even to take a licensing exam to work in their intended field.

In July 2012, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee released a report on the findings of a two-year investigation of the for-profit higher education industry which revealed widespread problems throughout the sector. Former Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), then-Chairman of the HELP Committee, summarized the findings upon the report’s release:

“In this report, you will find overwhelming documentation of overpriced tuition, predatory recruiting practices, sky-high dropout rates, billions of taxpayer dollars spent on aggressive marketing and advertising, and companies gaming regulations to maximize profits.  These practices are not the exception -- they are the norm; they are systemic throughout the industry, with very few exceptions… As a result of this investigation, a wide range of Americans – including taxpayers, prospective students and their families – are waking up to the troubling realities of this industry.  I hope that for-profit colleges will be moved by this final report to reform and focus on students’ success instead of just their financial aid dollars. But that will not be enough -- real, bold legislative reforms are critical. We need to know how every student is faring. We need to ensure that resources intended for education are spent productively.  We need colleges to provide the services that students need to succeed. And for companies so reliant on taxpayer revenues, we need to start requiring they demonstrate results for students, not just shareholders.”
Some experts have suggested that for-profit universities enroll students from underserved populations, and that heavily regulating these institutions will decrease opportunities for those students to receive post-secondary educations. However, the Brookings Institution found that while regulations limit enrollment and enrollment at for-profit colleges overall drops when one is sanctioned, the students enroll elsewhere — often at lower-cost and better-performing community colleges.

Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / MicroStockHub)

AKA

Protecting Students from Worthless Degrees Act

Official Title

A bill to provide consumer protections for students.

    If you call yourself a College, you need to be ACCREDITED. “Degrees” from non-accredited sources have another name: FRAUDULENT! Literally not worth the paper they are printed on.
    Like (218)
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    When I went to college, I understood what I had to do in order to make myself marketable. In the end I did not achieve what I thought I could do and that was my own fault. The same goes for all future students; if you want to go to the right college or trade school, do your research first. Adults need to be responsible for their choices and colleges that are not accredited already suffer from a lack of student enrollment. It is the college’s ability and desire to be accredited and non-profit/for-profit. If they choose not to, then so be it, but the Federal government should not step in and make any private company do what they “think” is better.
    Like (44)
    Follow
    Share
    To vote ‘Nay’ on this bill would prove the extent of this administration to promote support for big business, (including for-profit-colleges/universities). If passed, this bill would not support the individual student, but to support the ‘business’. This has been the pattern of this administration. As our representatives, it is your RESPONSIBILITY to stand by your constituents, not big business.
    Like (94)
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    Share
    DeVos is a shill for the for-profit educational businesses. She helped ruin public schools in Michigan. Don’t trust her. Pass this bill!
    Like (80)
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    A college education is marketed as an investment in your future. It is one on the largest life costs in anyone’s life. Education is marketed as a tool and investment to obtain a career, which sustains your life and lifestyle in this unethical capitalist economy that we have all been forced to live in. All schools should provide a guarantee for employment, as long as you do the work and perform all of the requirements of an accredited curriculum. If a program is not accredited, there is no proof that the program provides the necessary lessons, knowledge and tools for gainful employment or ability to address life’s issues, such as when Conservatives are placing their unethical, immoral, oppressive values on others and yourself.
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    If anything, for profits should be held to a higher standard
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    They absolutely should. Can you imagine our country being run by a bunch of trump university grads?
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    Haven’t recent scandalous examples of students being bilked out of their money, see Trump U, shown you how much these “colleges” need proper regulation and oversight. The only reason I can see that you wouldn’t support such action is that you/your campaigns are accepting funds from these places...or is it you just don’t care? I guarantee we care and you’ll see how much on November 6th!
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    Colleges bear some responsibility for huge student loans for degrees that can’t lead to good employment.
    Like (21)
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    This is legislation from someone who has no concept of economics, of business, or of how consumer demand in the marketplace works. The market will dictate if those requirements are necessary. Colleges will get them if that is what consumers demand. Conversely, maybe there is a whole market out there that is willing to forego those assurances in order to have a cheaper education, and this regulation would make college prohibitively expensive for those individuals. It might even allow more regulated colleges not to have to compete on cost against what are currently less regulated colleges. Maybe that type of cronyism is even the point of this bill - it's to help protect high-priced, high-regulated colleges from having to face low-cost, low-regulated competition.
    Like (20)
    Follow
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    THE RESPONSIBILITY RESTS WITH THE STUDENT I’m in full agreement with “Fredrick’s” comment in that Students need to take responsibility for their actions when choosing their educational goals. They are at liberty to choose whatever schools they wish to attend and they are of adult age to do so. If they do not properly research their and they make a bad educational decision as to which school to attend, why should they blame the people' they failed to research. Bad schools will have that enrollment and go away. Good schools, accredited schools, with good reputations will flourish and enrollments go up. Students need to take responsibility for their actions when choosing their educational goals. They are at liberty to choose whatever schools they wish to attend and they are of adult age to do so. The very definition of liberty is Freedom with responsibility! If not properly researched and they make a bad educational decision why should they blame the people they failed to research. Bad schools will have that enrollment and go away. Good schools, accredited schools, with good reputations will flourish and enrollments go up. Secretary DeVos’ proposed national database of all higher education institutions, not just for-profit and career programs, is a more comprehensive approach to helping students make educated decisions about their futures. The “gainful employment” standard may be inappropriate for certificate programs in certain professions, such as salons, which are tipped. 9*2*18 ................. SneakyPete.
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    Are You Kidding??? Every school and any Home Schooling MUST MEET THE CRITERIA FOR WHATEVER DEGREE A STUDENT IS STUDYING. Funny that this question comes up when Sec DeVoss is trying to take federal money from public schools and GIVE it to CHRISTIAN religious schools, NOT INCLUDING other religious schools.
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    Yes for profit college must be accredited. Trump University is a great example of why for profit education is a bad idea. A for profit college main focus will be to make as much as profit as possible not providing the best education as possible. The last thing people paying a for profit college need is to find out when they graduate all their time & money spent were for nothing. Because the degrees they worked so hard for are meaningless.
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    Students need to take responsibility for their actions when choosing their educational goals. They are at liberty to choose whatever schools they wish to attend and they are of adult age to do so. The very definition of liberty is Freedom with responsibility! If not properly researched and they make a bad educational decision why should they blame the people they failed to research. Bad schools will have enrollment & reputation drop and go away. Good schools, accredited schools, with good reputations will flourish and enrollments go up.
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    This is another form of consumer protection, and it is badly needed!
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    Absolutely. All colleges should be required to be accredited and show that they are adequately preparing students for jobs. Given the prohibitive cost of a college education, this is the least that should be required. Moving to a more reasonable tuition cost and discouraging predatory student loans would also be very helpful.
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    Of course they should. Like any other “for profit” entity, the price of an education ought to be demonstrated within and backed by an unquestionable guarantee of quality, growth and long-lasting gainfulness that can be seen in the lives of its graduates and the paths that stem out and lead our children into their futures.
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    This is another step to push Federal control on private institutions. However, I see nothing untoward in using a ”job fair” week where graduating students could inquire about employment. PhDs in early American basket weaving may have to seek employment in other venues.
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    I saw lots of men in thier early 20's with no HS diploma while I was a Probation officer for the state of Indiana. They often signed up to these types of college's. Those who actually succeeded couldn't find employment with their diplomas. Plus all of those people who signed up had a heap of debt and absolutely nothing to show for it.
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    All schools at all levels need to be transparent. Colleges, public and especially private need absolute total transparency. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand please be sure to do all you can to see that this bill is passed. Betsy DeVos is out to destroy our Public Education system, let’s show her what a loser she truly is.
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