The House this week approved a resolution to block new teacher-prep rules finalized by the Obama administration last year.
The resolution, introduced by Kentucky Republican Brett Guthrie, would eliminate the rule through the little-used Congressional Review Act. GOP leaders have said they plan to use the CRA to roll back a number of regulations crafted by the previous administration, including the teacher-prep and borrower-defense rules.
Five Democrats joined with 235 Republican House members to approve the resolution 240-181. No GOP member voted against the resolution. The resolution will head to the Senate next.
More than 200 colleges have given the U.S. Department of Education notice that they will appeal gainful employment ratings that found their programs to be failing or close to failing. The colleges filed a required notice of intent to appeal within 14 days of the release of ratings for 536 individual programs, according to data posted by the Office of Federal Student Aid Monday.
Institutions appearing on the list include Vatterott College, Kaplan University and Full Sail University.
Ratings released by the department last month showed that nearly a tenth of vocational programs evaluated -- mostly at for-profit institutions -- failed to meet new criteria measuring whether graduates were able to repay their student loan debt. That puts those programs at risk of being cut off from access to Title IV federal aid.
The gainful employment rule was heavily criticized by Republicans in Congress, and GOP leaders have listed it among a number of Obama administration regulations they plan to eliminate or scale back.
Submitted by Paul Fain on January 10, 2017 - 3:00am
The U.S. Department of Education last month finalized its decision to terminate the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, a controversial national accrediting agency that oversaw Corinthian Colleges, ITT and other failed for-profits.
Before the end of December, all remaining ACICS institutions filed paperwork with the department to retain their federal aid eligibility for 18 months while seeking a new accreditor, the department said this week. The roughly 245 colleges collectively received $4.76 billion in federal aid during 2015.
Ted Mitchell, the U.S. under secretary of education, said in an interview that he was encouraged by the transition process so far for ACICS-accredited colleges.
“The institutions are taking their responsibilities seriously,” he said. “We’re working to make this transition as successful as possible.”
Most of the colleges have begun seeking approval from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, a national accrediting agency. Michale McComis, the commission’s executive director, said last week that 180 ACICS-accredited institutions have formally initiated the process. He expects that number to grow to 210 colleges by the end of January.
Some experts on for-profit higher education have predicted that substantial numbers of ACICS-accredited institutions will fail to find a new agency home within 18 months. One higher education lawyer said that challenge remains, and that the department had overplayed its celebration of ACICS institutions successfully completing their federal aid extension paperwork.
Mitchell, however, said the process of getting roughly 245 institutions to sign provisional Program Participation Agreements was complex and required collaboration between the feds and ACICS-approved colleges. The agreements include monitoring and reporting requirements the department said are intended to protect taxpayers and students.
In addition, Mitchell said he was confident that well-run institutions among the group “will have the time to secure accreditation.”
ACICS has sued to block the department’s decision to de-recognize the accreditor. A judge last month denied a request from ACICS for a temporary injunction.
It’s unclear if the incoming Trump administration would be able to overturn the department’s move to eliminate ACICS, or if it would seek to try.
Southern accreditor puts 10 colleges on probation, including Louisville for its governance problems, several for-profit art schools for financial woes and new University of Texas campus for an array of shortcomings.
Submitted by Paul Fain on December 5, 2016 - 3:00am
Overall national college completion rates are rising after a two-year slide, according to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which tracks 97 percent of all college enrollments.
For college students who first enrolled in 2010, the overall six-year graduation rate was 54.8 percent, an increase of 1.9 percentage points from the previous year's students. The new rate is similar to that of students who first enrolled in 2008, but is lower than the 56.1 percent rate for the pre-recession 2007 group.
“We can expect this nationwide recovery in college completion rates to continue in upcoming years,” said Doug Shapiro, the center's executive director.
The recession led to a nationwide surge in college enrollments, the center said, particularly among adult and part-time students. That bump was followed by declining completion rates, which have now partially reversed.
"Dramatic increases in enrollments appear to have leveled off and completion rates are recovering some ground," the report said. "For two-year institutions that could point to overcrowded classrooms to help explain lower completion rates in the previous years, the higher rates for this year’s smaller cohort were perhaps to be expected. For four-year public and nonprofit institutions, however, the rebounding completions rates accomplished with continuing increases in enrollment are a surprising result."