5% fail ‘gainful employment’ test

Five percent of college career programs — all at for-profit colleges — have failed all three “gainful employment” rules, the U.S. Education Department announced Tuesday. The rule covers non-degree programs.  Here’s a chart showing the programs.

Vocational programs must show that 35 percent of former students are repaying their loans, repayment takes no more than 12 percent of earnings for the average graduate and debt is no more than 30 percent of discretionary income.  Starting in 2015, if programs have failed those tests in three out of four years, students will not be able to use federal aid to enroll.

The Education Department’s data is inaccurate, some for-profit colleges charged. “The Department of Education’s so-called ‘gainful employment’ regulation has always been and remains today a faulty metric,” said Steve Gunderson, president of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities. The APSCU is challenging the regulations in court.

Some career fields showed more problems, notes Inside Higher Ed.

More than half of all programs in criminal justice, as well as those that prepare secretaries, medical assistants, and pharmacy and medical records technicians, failed to meet any of the department’s standards. Other programs — including photography, interior design and certificate programs for licensed professional nurses — fared relatively better, with more than 70 percent meeting at least minimum standards.

. . . About one in 10 programs at the for-profit Art Institutes, owned by the Education Management Corporation, also fell short.

Several community college programs failed two of the three tests, including programs at McLennan Community College and Trinity Valley Community College, in Texas.