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Department of Education’s New Gainful Employment Rule ‘a Welcome First Step’

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García: ‘Federal student aid is intended to give students hope of a brighter future, not to saddle them with excessive debt’

WASHINGTON - October 30, 2014 -

U.S. Department of Education has announced new regulations to ensure that for-profit colleges and non-degree programs improve their outcomes for students—or risk losing access to federal student aid. These “gainful employment” regulations will hold career training programs accountable for putting students on the path to success, and protect consumers by preventing and investigating fraud, waste and abuse.

While the National Education Association welcomes the Department of Education’s announcement as a critical step forward, stronger language is needed.

“We need to prevent institutions that do not provide quality education from continuing to prey on students and taxpayers, particularly those that fail to prepare students for productive careers, cost more than public institutions and leave students buried in debt they cannot repay,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.

“Our nation’s public 2- and 4-year colleges lead in providing access to quality and affordable education, and we do not need to subsidize institutions that do not meet that standard. Federal student aid is intended to give students hope of a brighter future, not to saddle them with excessive debt,” said Eskelsen García.

In recent years, investigations by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP Committee), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and numerous advocacy groups have highlighted these problems. At the federal level, the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have investigated misconduct by for-profit colleges, and a bipartisan group of state attorneys general is working on investigations at the state level. 

NEA will continue to support the Department’s efforts to establish a strong, enforceable, gainful employment rule.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Sara Robertson, 202-822-7823,


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