Education Department

No Letup From Washington

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CHICAGO -- If you closed your eyes and listened to the various highlighted speakers at the Higher Learning Commission's annual meeting here this week, you might have thought that Margaret Spellings and her outcomes-focused colleagues were still running the U.S. Education Department.

Pushback on Gainful Employment

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WASHINGTON – As the U.S. Department of Education prepares to finish revising regulations intended to weed out abuses of the federal financial aid system, for-profit higher education’s major advocacy group has chosen to push back.

Going Ahead With Gainful Employment

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WASHINGTON -- A long recession and a wavering job market have brought for-profit higher education institutions into the public eye as never before. Big advertising budgets have given them name recognition. Dramatic enrollment growth (fueled by increasing amounts of federal financial aid) and assurances to students that a degree or certificate is the path to a comfortable job in a specific field have brought them scrutiny.

FIPSE'S Freefall Continues

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A textual analysis of Education Secretary Arne Duncan's speeches would turn up innumerable uses of a few key words: reform, improvement and, increasingly, innovation. The status quo in education at all levels is not sufficient, Duncan and his colleagues in the Obama Education Department frequently assert, which is why the administration has created (or sought to create) several new competitive funds aimed at stimulating new ideas.

Mission Accomplished

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WASHINGTON -- If politics were as data-driven as baseball, and scorekeepers kept a statistic to measure how much impact a person had per day or week or month, Robert Shireman would almost certainly have made the all-star team.

Cut From Similar Cloth

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WASHINGTON -- Education Department officials confirmed Wednesday that James Kvaal, a special assistant at the White House National Economic Council, would fill Robert Shireman's soon-to-be-vacated position of deputy under secretary. Kvaal will start Monday as a senior adviser to Shireman, and will take his title of deputy under secretary when Shireman leaves July 1.

Partial 'Program Integrity'

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Education today released a set of proposed rules intended to prevent abuses of federal financial aid programs by establishing new consumer protections, ensuring that only eligible students receive federal aid, and clarifying the courses and programs for which students can use federal aid dollars.

Method to Miller's Madness

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WASHINGTON -- The subject of a House of Representatives hearing Thursday seemed like an unusually obscure, in-the-weeds topic for a Congressional committee to spend its time on: an accrediting agency's standards for assessing a college's policies on academic credit hours.

'Bad Apples' or Something More?

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WASHINGTON -- Two weeks ago, the hub of the federal government’s scrutiny of for-profit higher education was the U.S. Department of Education, where a team of staffers were putting the finishing touches on a set of proposed regulations aimed at reining in abuses of the federal financial aid program.

The Senate Scrutiny Begins

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WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats began their investigation of for-profit higher education here in earnest Thursday, holding the first in what they promise will be a series of hearings aimed at better understanding the sector’s value to students and taxpayers.

For three hours, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee heard testimony that, taken together, amounted to a largely scathing overview of the sector.

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