WASHINGTON – Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement regarding the Department of Education’s new regulations to hold career training programs and for-profit colleges accountable to students and taxpayers:
“The gainful employment regulations released today are an important step forward in protecting students and taxpayers alike from predatory for-profit colleges. We urge the Department of Education to aggressively enforce the regulation while also deploying all available tools to reign in the abuses of career education programs that put profits before students.
It is imperative that this industry be held accountable for its role in the nation’s rising tide of student loan debt – now at over $1.2 trillion – and default faced by students enrolled in the for-profit sector. A majority of students who are targeted and victimized by the industry’s unscrupulous practices are women, minorities, low-income individuals, single parents, veterans and service members.
While the new gainful employment rules will help hold career education programs accountable for their students’ futures, they still lack important protections for those who do not complete these substandard programs but are still billed the maximum amount that federal financial aid allows. The rules also fail to protect students whose schools, like the Corinthian colleges, are suddenly closed down. A recent report from The Leadership Conference and seven other civil rights organizations describes many of these abuses and recommends much stronger measures to prohibit the ongoing exploitation of our communities by for-profit programs.
We applaud these new protections as a first step, and are committed to working with Congress and the Administration to continue working to ensure that students who invest in their career education get what they pay for.”
Nancy Zirkin is the executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.