Statement from New York’s Association of Proprietary Colleges on the Proposed U.S. Department of Education Gainful Employment Rule

“The 25 members of the New York Association of Proprietary Colleges take pride in our ability to serve students by affording them with the valuable skills and core competencies desired by employers. And to help ensure students receive every possible benefit, we support reasonable regulation concerning accountability and affordability in higher education.
The proposed Gainful Employment regulation issued last week by the U.S. Department of Education attempts to remedy a complex economic problem associated with student debt; however it lacks critical elements to achieve this goal.

As currently drafted, the rule would undermine the Obama administration’s goal of increasing the number of U.S. college graduates, especially lower-income Americans. Data shows that non-traditional students, with more modest income levels, seeking to earn a college degree have higher debt-to-income ratios after graduation and as such are disproportionately affected by the proposed rule.
What’s more, the proposed rule holds certificate and degree programs at proprietary colleges to a higher standard than public-sector or independent programs. The DOE’s own data shows the average debt-to-earnings ratio for all bachelor’s degree graduates in their first year of repayment is 13 percent (12 percent public and 16 percent independent). Yet, proprietary colleges and universities would be held to an eight percent standard. We must have across the board uniformity and consistent thresholds applied to all education sectors.

Unlike most other states, New York’s proprietary sector of higher education is carefully regulated by its State Board of Regents to ensure academic integrity that places it on par with the other higher education sectors and provides consumer protections and confidence worthy of a sound investment.

We will continue to abide by New York’s stringent regulations and remain committed to assisting in the DOE’s effort to establish standards for programs that prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.”