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Under Sec. Devos, Dept. of Ed Continues to Erode Protections for Students


August 17, 2017

Contact: Allie Aguilera,, 202-734-6529

[Washington] – Today, Sec. DeVos’ Department of Education continued its relentless assault on accountability measures for college programs that leave their graduates with limited earning potential and high student debt. Despite having already initiated the troubling, yet legal, negotiated rulemaking process to weaken or roll back the Gainful Employment Rule (GE), the Department is pushing further by employing subversive, and possibly illegal, tactics to undermine the current rule. The Department announced they will further extend the appeals process for schools that failed the first round of the rule, enabling those schools to postpone providing warnings to their students about the poor quality of their programs. Additionally, the Secretary is now empowered to accept less reliable outcomes data to inform rule compliance determinations, in a radical departure from previous standards for determining graduates’ earnings that take into account response rate and sample size. Finally, the continued extension is reliant on a court order much narrower than the actions taken by the Department today, and it may be challenged in court.

“Secretary DeVos may be willing to sacrifice protections for students and may not like the gainful employment rule, but she is required by law to enforce it,” said Reid Setzer, Young Invincibles’ Government Affairs Director. “By continually delaying the enforcement of provisions within the rule, initiating a negotiated rulemaking to weaken or eliminate it, and providing no clear plan to collect and release data for the second round of GE in early 2018, the Department is sending a clear message: under Secretary Devos’ watch students won’t be protected and bad acting schools will not be held accountable. Today’s announcement continues to move the Department away from its mission to promote student achievement and foster educational excellence for all students.”