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Newly Released Gainful Employment Data Holds Schools Accountable for Return on Student and Taxpayer Investment

January 9, 2016
CONTACT: Sarah Schultz,, 202-734-6510

[Washington, D.C.] – Today, the Department of Education released its latest gainful employment data including important information about how well graduates from two-year and four-year career and vocational programs can afford their student debt. Every career program receives a debt-to-earnings ratio showing how much their graduates earn compared to what they borrowed. Programs that exceed debt-to-earnings thresholds for multiple years fail the test and ultimately lose access to federal financial aid. Moreover, the Department of Education could use the data to warn students and families about poorly performing schools.

Christopher Nellum, Policy Director of Young Invincibles, issued the following statement:

“Too many career colleges charge high prices, but fail to adequately train students for the job market, leaving them under mountains of debt with few prospects. Bad actors are particularly common in the for-profit sector, and the newly released data show that 98% of the programs that failed the gainful employment test are for-profit institutions. We’ve consistently supported holding poorly performing schools of all types accountable for providing quality education and for responsibly using student and taxpayer investments.

Despite providing major benefits and protections for consumers and taxpayers, the gainful employment rule is under threat by the incoming Congress, members of which have already expressed a desire to eliminate it or roll it back. This would be a serious mistake. With college costs and student debt rising, we must maintain and strengthen rules like gainful employment, which keep the interests of students first.”

Young Invincibles was a lead student advocate on the gainful employment negotiated rulemaking session.