NAICU Washington Update

After Additional Negotiating, No Consensus Reached on Gainful Employment

December 17, 2013

The extra December day of negotiating on the Gainful Employment regulations could not avert the long-anticipated conclusion of “no consensus.” Representatives of consumer advocate groups and for-profit schools were unable to reach agreement on the provisions, despite, or perhaps because of, the significant changes to the original draft provided by the Department of Education.

Although it only takes a single dissenter to prevent consensus, few on the panel supported the draft as revised. The Department of Education is now free to publish proposed regulations as it wishes. The department acknowledged that it had benefitted from the sessions this fall, but it is under no obligation to use any of the draft language that was hammered out. The lack of consensus emphasizes how difficult it has been to develop acceptable integrity regulations for gainful employment programs. This negotiated rule-making panel itself was formed to re-craft earlier regulations that had twice been rejected by the courts.

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