Sign the petition and tell Congress to stop decreasing the value of hard earned education.
Students deserve every chance for success this country can offer, particularly in this difficult economy. While excessive student loan debt is a serious concern, so are steps that have been taken in Washington, D.C. that will deprive over two million students the opportunity to attend a college or university.
We’re especially concerned about the so-called “gainful employment” rule, which unfairly targets minorities and working-class communities. This rule will cut jobs, eliminate career college programs and decrease the value of hard hard-earned education for working adults.
Sign the petition and tell Washington to stop singling out career colleges for unfair, unbalanced congressional hearings and discriminatory rules. Instead, let’s start focusing on steps that will improve educational access, opportunity and quality for all Americans.
Arthur Kaiser, chairman of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, authored a recent article for the Daily Caller describing how for-profit schools could be a boost for the economy.
Mr. Kaiser highlighted the value of PSCUs:
“Private sector colleges and universities (PSCUs) offer students valuable advancement opportunities, at minimal cost to taxpayers. And we’re not talking about small numbers here. PSCUs educate 3.8 million students, many of whom are non-traditional students, including working adults, returning veterans and single parents. Our schools — with flexible schedules and online classes — give these Americans the rare opportunity to create meaningful, sustaining careers, rather than bounce from one low-paying job to another with no hope of earning a living wage. In fact, our students are often those who have lost their jobs and need new skills and training to establish sustainable careers.”
And, as we all know, “a postsecondary education is a prerequisite for employment today. PSCUs train students for in-demand jobs, at a time when Americans need those jobs most. Students consistently praise our schools for providing strong individual instruction, restoring their confidence in their skills and making the connection between classroom learning and employable skills they readily see upon graduation.”
Despite the contributions private-sector schools are making to the job force , “the federal government continues to single out the private sector schools with unfair regulations. For example, the U.S. Department of Education’s ‘gainful employment’ regulation requires that private sector schools face stricter standards for student loan repayment or risk losing federal student aid.”
Critics of the for-profit industry “have questioned why the student loan default rates for students at private sector schools are higher than those for non-profit or public college students. But this way of thinking discounts simple economics. Default rates are tied to demographics. Since PSCUs educate a high percentage of lower-income students who have fewer resources than their peers, these students are more likely to default on their loans. When you compare similarly situated cohorts, our students’ default rates are almost identical to those at community colleges and traditional four-year colleges.”
In conclusion, Mr. Kaiser warned of the negative impacts recent legislation would have in tough economic times:
“as a result of unwarranted regulation, students will have less access to programs and will not gain the critical skills needed to compete in today’s global workforce. Considering the stagnant economy and weak labor market, can we afford these regulations?”
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Recently, two university professors, Clayton M. Christensen and Henry J. Eyring, discussed the future of higher education. They discussed how for-profit institutions are the only real competition for large public and private universities.
Throughout our lifetime, we’ve seen companies come and go and new inventions come along to make entire products or services become obsolete. But when was the last time you heard of a large university closing its doors? According to Christensen and Eyring, part of the reason for this is a lack of competition. Large universities are modeling their programs after other large successful universities to give the customers what they want. They said, “the strategy of most schools is one of imitation, not innovation. Little-known and smaller institutions try to move up in the ranks by adding students, majors, and graduate programs, so as to look more like the large universities.”
They also mention that for-profit institutions would be the most likely competitors for large public universities since they offer many desirable features which traditional universities seem to lack. Specifically, for-profit colleges incorporate a large online component that is attractive to nontraditional students like working adults, veterans, and career changers. Furthermore, for-profit institutions offer flexible scheduling and summer courses allowing students to graduate in a relatively short amount of time and get back into the workforce.
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July 15, 2011
President Obama’s assistant education secretary, Eduardo Ochoa, recently announced that the President wants more college graduates. Ochoa told higher education leaders that the “country is not producing enough people with college degrees and is losing its global competitive edge. The United states has slipped from first to ninth when it comes to the number of 24-to 29-year-olds with post-secondary degrees.”
Ochoa said that, “Obama has outlined a goal to increase the number of Americans with post-secondary degrees from 40 percent to 60 percent by 2020.”
While this is a noble aim, “the state of higher education in this country is not without challenges.” One major challenge has been harsh regulation targeting for-profit colleges that threatens the accessibility of federal aid to for-profit college students. This is especially problematic since, out of all the higher education institutions, for-profit colleges have experienced the most growth recently, granting degrees to nearly 10 percent of all college students in the U.S.
With recent legislation threatening federal aid to for-profit college students, the majority of non-traditional students will not be able to afford tuition. It goes without saying that these students – usually veterans, parents, career changers, and mid-career employees – are put at a disadvantage within the job market and unable to compete without the right training. In a time where job creation is our top priority, we cannot afford to restrict access to higher education.
For more on this article, please click here.