A federal judge has struck down central parts of hotly debated new federal regulations meant to rein in for-profit colleges that often leave students saddled with debts they cannot repay, the Huffington Post reports. In a ruling released on Saturday, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras invalidated parts of the Obama administration’s so-called gainful employment regulations, ruling that the Department of Education “failed to provide a reasoned explanation” in arriving at guidelines to assess students’ ability to pay down loans after attending a career training program. Saturday’s ruling was the culmination of a federal lawsuit filed last July by a key for-profit college trade group, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities. The decision is a setback for the Department of Education, which issued the gainful employment regulations last summer in the middle of an intense Washington lobbying battle waged by the for-profit college industry. But while the judge invalidated major parts of the regulations, he wrote that the department clearly had the authority to issue the rules — which the for-profit college group had contested in its lawsuit…

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