Home > Uncategorized > Guardrails Already Off in Education Department… and the Results are Bad for Student Borrowers

Guardrails Already Off in Education Department… and the Results are Bad for Student Borrowers

February 8, 2020

Over the past several weeks, I’ve read many l articles exposing the flaws in the proposals advanced by progressive candidates to waive student debt. The most persuasive argument against this proposal is that in waiving debt for ALL students, some “undeserving” students who willfully failed to pay their debts will benefit while many “responsible” students who did pay off their loans will be effectively penalized.

It is unfortunate that the fight the progressive’s picked was one over a new entitlement as opposed to going after the broken promises of the USDOE and the deregulation of the for-profit schools who generated most of the debt by offering dead-end courses to students who took out loans they could not afford to pay back when the colleges closed or the degrees they earned did not prepare them for the jobs promised. Worse, the education department reneged on waiving the student debts for thousands of graduates who agreed to accept lower paying jobs in the public sector in exchange for the forfeiture of their student debt.

Fortune magazine recently published an op ed article by Aaron Ament and Randi Weingarten that describes Betsy DeVos’ “misguided repeal of the gainful employment rule, which they describe as follows:

Gainful employment has big implications for students and taxpayers. It says, in short, that nearly all for-profit college programs and nondegree career programs at public and private nonprofit colleges are only eligible for federal student aid if they lead to good jobs that pay enough for students to repay their loans.

In order to block the implementation of this rule, the AFT and Student Defense, the organizations Mr. Ament and Ms. Weingarten head, are filing a suit in court. Given the recent appointees to courts it seems plausible that the rule will be reversed and, should that be the case, the victors will be the profiteers who operate the colleges and the losers will be the former students who enrolled in the valueless programs. Mr. Ament and Ms. Weingarten have a more sanguine view:

We are confident DeVos’s dismantling of the gainful employment rule will (be reversed in court). But why are unions and advocates forced to fight to defend what few protections borrowers have already won? Isn’t that DeVos’s job?

Instead of stymying students, the administration should be working with us to create new and affordable educational opportunities for tomorrow’s teachers, nurses, veterans, government employees, first responders, and trade workers. In other words, Betsy DeVos should protect the people she’s sworn to serve, not the for-profit industry that all too often exploits them.

When the guardrails of regulation come off, profits increase and consumers suffer. The sooner voters make this connection, the better for our economy and the imbalance that exists between the rich and the poor.


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