U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN), Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC), and Representative Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) joined a bipartisan coalition of members in urging the Obama administration to stop further implementation of the controversial "gainful employment" regulation in light of a June 30 federal court decision.
In a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, which was also signed by Representatives Denny Rehberg (R-MT), Robert Andrews (D-NJ), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Robert "Bobby" Scott (D-VA), and Alcee Hastings (D-FL), the members express a shared desire to work with the department during the impending Higher Education Act reauthorization to develop responsible higher education policies that will provide effective data and resources for students:
In his written decision, Judge Rudolph Contreras in The Association of Private Colleges and Universities vs. Arne Duncan and the United States Department of Education stated, "Because one of the debt measures lacks a reasoned basis, that regulation will be vacated as arbitrary and capricious. Because the majority of the related rules cannot stand without the debt measures, they will be vacated as well." Considering this decision, we ask that the Department put any further implementation of the gainful employment rules on hold as well as refrain from starting a new round of negotiated rulemaking.
Congress will begin discussions on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act next year. With the implementation of gainful employment standards on hold, we believe that the soundest approach from a policy and resource perspective is for the Department to work with Congress to develop clearer and simpler policies in the reauthorization process that would apply to all Title IV funded schools. We believe that in this context we will be able to work with the Department to come up with key data points that can be universally applied and disclosed, to ensure that students and taxpayers receive a good return on their investment in postsecondary education.
Chairman Kline and Representative Foxx recently applauded the federal court ruling on "gainful employment," stating, "The court's decision to strike the most burdensome portions of the "gainful employment' regulation is a welcome development in the fight to remove unnecessary federal rules that restrict choice and opportunities in higher education."