Over the summer, Talk of the Sound reported Monroe EVP Marc Jerome Named to Obama Administration Committee on Regulation of For-Profit Colleges
These outcome of these negotiations will have a become impact on the nation's for-profit colleges including Monroe College and Marc Jerome has played a central role. While this not be everyone's cup of tea, for those interested in Monroe College this is a big deal.
Here are a few articles curated by the folks at the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges:
For-profit colleges will join talks today in Washington as they try to soften an Education Department proposal that sets limits on student debt levels.
The regulations, rewritten after a court challenge, threaten the colleges with losing eligibility for U.S. financial aid within two years of going into effect, according to the department’s draft proposal. An earlier version would have given education companies an additional year to comply.
The U.S. Department of Education released draft language on Friday for a proposed new "gainful employment" rule that in some ways would be stronger than an earlier version that was thrown out by a federal court in June 2012, but in others ways would be weaker.
The draft regulation, which will be subject to three days of formal negotiation beginning on September 9, could cover more than 11,000 programs at for-profit and nonprofit colleges—nearly twice as many as the old rule would have covered. That's because the draft calls for including programs with as few as 10 students; the earlier rule counted only career-focused programs with 30 or more students. (See a comparison of the two versions prepared by the Education Department.)
The Obama Administration is taking another crack at reining in for-profit colleges. Some schools have come under fire for saddling students with heavy debt loads and light-weight credentials. After a federal court threw out new regulations last summer, negotiators are back at the table today.
The original “gainful employment” rules would have punished career colleges if more than 35 percent of their former students were not repaying their loans. The idea was to weed out expensive programs that don’t lead to good-paying jobs. A U.S. district judge threw out the 35 percent rule, calling it an arbitrary threshold.
Something that seems clear after two rounds of negotiated rulemaking is the lack of trust those aligned with consumer advocates have for proprietary schools. As I recall, one negotiator suggested they needed to think “deviously” when considering how a proprietary school would game the rules.
The issue came to a head, I think, as related to Marc Jerome’s proposal to, in essence, be able to supplant student borrowing with institutional aid if that program has failed for one year to meet the debt-to-income or debt-to-discretionary income test. As I see it, this is a very pro student proposal; in essence, he wants the ability to give away money to students to keep them from borrowing. It would be done with the knowing consent of the students (they’d have to sign a document, presumably showing how much they could have borrowed and that they are not going to take out a loan for that amount and will instead get funds from the school). The questioning however, was as intense as it’s been about anything else. Concerns were expressed about letting a failing program have a “second bite at the apple,” and how schools would use this to game the rules – including finding ways to raise tuition and use this to reset the bar at the upper limit of the metric set by the Department. It seemed, amidst these attempts to figure out how some school could leverage this proposal to ”gamin” the rule, that the proposal at issue was one in which an institution could request the ability to provide free money to students to lower student debt. To the Department’s credit, it embraced this idea (John Kolotos called it the “most proactive” idea negotiators put forth related to student debt). It seems, however, everyone should rally around such a pro-student
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