Education Department

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.

Splitting the Difference on Gainful Employment

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Education today released its long-awaited proposed regulations to define “gainful employment,” the mechanism that makes non-liberal arts offerings at for-profit colleges eligible for federal financial aid.

Striking a middle ground between aggressively attacking for-profit higher education and backing down under the sector’s intense lobbying pressure, the rule creates multiple paths to eligibility and takes aim at only the most egregious of bad actors.

In Whose Interest?

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Scholarly groups line up against open access legislation, but anthropologists ask whether researchers' views are being represented.

A Bit More on 'Gainful Employment'

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WASHINGTON –The U.S. Department of Education’s proposed rules defining “gainful employment” by examining students’ ability to repay their loans have spurred more questions than they’ve answered.

Shellacking the For-Profits

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WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats made it clear Wednesday that their examination of for-profit higher education has only just begun, and that they plan to pursue legislation aimed at reining what they see as the sector’s dishonest -- if not fraudulent -- practices.

Has the Conversation Changed?

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WASHINGTON -- Leaders in for-profit higher education have historically tried to deflect criticism of the institutions by pointing to a few misbehaving "bad actors" who aggressively recruit unqualified students, keep them enrolled for as long as possible while burying them in debt and, if students stick it out long enough, award them worthless degrees.

What Harkin Wants

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WASHINGTON -- If it wasn't already clear that the U.S. Senate was putting plenty of pressure on for-profit colleges, the detailed information the body's leading voice on education is seeking from 30 companies and institutions makes it pretty obvious.

Did the Department Drop the Ball?

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WASHINGTON -- The Government Accountability Office’s “secret shopper” investigation of recruiting practices at for-profit colleges was a mixed blessing for the U.S. Department of Education.

At one level, the findings presented at last week’s Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing were a vindication. Videotaped evidence pointed to fraud at four colleges, and questionable or deceptive practices at all 15 campuses investigated.


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