However, any bill that passed the Democratic-controlled Senate increasing regulation of the for-profit college sector is unlikely to advance in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, whose Education Committee has shown little interest in toughening laws governing the sector.

Education Department spokesman Justin Hamilton called the regulations a common-sense approach to give career colleges the opportunity to improve, but not let them off the hook, as students are being hurt.

The proposal already has led to voluntary efforts by the industry to improve practices, and parts of the regulations will increase transparency about graduation rates, job placement and student debt levels.

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