ACCT: Aim ‘gainful’ rule at high-cost colleges

Gainful employment regulations should give a pass to low-cost programs with few borrowers, argues the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). Most community and technical college programs are in the “low cost, low risk” category. Only 9 percent of students seeking a vocational certificate go into debt, according to the ACCT statement.

ACCT strongly encourages the Administration to reconsider the “low-cost, low-risk” proposal that was offered by the community college negotiators during the 2013 negotiated rulemaking sessions.

The Administration’s utilization of the program-level cohort default rate (CDR) is problematic for community colleges. We have always believed that metrics focusing solely on borrowers alone are improper measures of institutional or program quality. The “pCDR” judges whether a significant number of students who borrow are defaulting on their federal loans even if a very small number of overall participants borrowed any such loans. Under the pCDR, a handful of borrowers could negatively impact the ability of a much larger group of students to benefit from federal aid.

Since for-profit colleges aren’t subsidized by state and local taxpayers,  students pay much higher tuition, often funded by federal grants and loans.  Those who don’t find good jobs are at high risk of defaulting on their loans.