The new regulations include a three-strikes-and-you’re-out rule. Schools must demonstrate that their educational services lead to “gainful employment” and show that 35 percent of their students are paying down their loans by at least $1 a year. If schools don’t meet the requirements three years in a row, they’ll lose eligibility for federal funding.
Many lawmakers oppose the regulations.
The House Education Committee approved a measure, sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., the chairman of the committee’s Higher Education panel, aimed at weakening certain aspects of the new regulations.
Other Republicans, including Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, boycotted Senate hearings and called them partisan shows.
“The fact is that more employment is achieved through for-profit institutions than not-for-profit institutions,” Burr said in an interview. “For-profit institutions are providing a great service, or they wouldn’t have a clientele.”
The new regulations also went up against a multimillion-dollar lobbying campaign by the industry, according to OpenSecrets.org, a website maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The Senate Education Committee hopes to add legislation, which is generally stronger and longer-lasting than regulatory protections.
At its fifth hearing on the subject last week, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said the regulations were “modest” and “better than nothing,” adding that for-profit college companies’ stocks boomed when the regulations came out.