Today I wrote a message to the Federal Department of Education as a comment on proposed rule Docket ID ED-2014-OPE-0039.
That regulation proposal concerns career schools that are eligible for providing Federally guaranteed educational loans.
[In my original posting I left out some important details. For those who do not know about this issue, Cate Nappe, (in comments) provided these details:]
The Obama administration will release new regulations ... requiring most for-profit and career — or vocational — colleges to demonstrate that they are properly preparing students for careers after graduation or face being barred from federal student aid programs.
Students at for-profit colleges represent about 13% of the total higher education population, but a disproportionate number of federal student loans — about 31% of all loans --go to such schools, which are popular with adult students and veterans trying to launch careers. Nearly half of all college loan defaults are from students enrolled in such programs, according to Department of Education statistics.
Under the new requirements, the colleges will have to demonstrate that graduates' debt load on average does not exceed 20% of their discretionary earnings or 8% of their total earnings. Institutions must also demonstrate that former students' default rate does not exceed 30%.Source: USA Today. Thanks, Catte Nappe.
You also can comment on these scams at this link. They are the ones that you see on TV advertising for people to train in careers. They are for-profit corporations, not state sanctioned schools, have no transferable course credits and say they will provide employment once the student graduates, but have a terrible record of actually doing that. On top of that the quality of their courses is understandably low, since they do not hire teachers or ‘professors’ with state certification or, in some cases, even any degree at all.
My statement follows.
This is my comment. Feel free to plagiarize any of this (and only this) you wish.
"Comment:So, there you have it in a nutshell. The comment is necessarily brief, to make the points stand out. Use if you will. The more comments on this issue, the better.
Re: Docket ID ED-2014-OPE-0039
As a published author and frequent follower of educational issues, including the disaster that is known as private, for-profit education mills, I thank you for proposing rules to prevent the milking of federal aid by for-profit career education schools that consistently fail to deliver on their promises, leaving students and the Federal Government with unmanageable debt.
It has long been common knowledge these so-called educational corporations exist solely to milk the educational loans system. They help the student apply for and get the loans, then they provide minimal education and a piece of worthless paper ‘certifying’ that the student has a proper education in whatever career they have chosen.
My own son fell victim to one of those scams, and took years to pay off the loan, spending years looking for work in the career they supposedly trained him for. Most prospective employers laughed at his ‘diploma’ because the school was only accredited by a system formed by these scam artists, and not transferable to any state college or university.
As a citizen I urge the Department of Education to put teeth into the law that requires such programs to prepare students for gainful employment.
And by teeth I mean felony criminal charges resulting in stiff prison sentences of CEO’s and Board of Directors members of offending educational corporations. Their crimes, after all, are criminal fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.
The old saw that all is fair in business (caveat emptor, or buyer beware) is no longer acceptable to us citizens as an excuse for allowing criminal fraud to be openly practiced by businesses.
Also educational corporations which do not provide or procure the jobs promised by their sales pitch must be held accountable for any educational loans made to students who cannot find such jobs once their program is complete. Forcing a guarantee or your money back would create a disciplinary tool that would force for-profit educational facilities into actually providing the quality education promised, but so often not delivered. The government should not be held accountable for a business failing to perform; the business itself must be held accountable.
Such corporations must also be required to obtain state sanctioned accreditation for their courses, and provide transferable credits. Your regulations should make them equal to state university standards of education.
Otherwise they are simple scams, and should not be sanctioned for educational loans.”