Commonwealth of Virginia
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AG HERRING JOINS COALITION OF STATES CALLING ON U.S. SEC. OF EDUCATION DEVOS TO HALT FURTHER DELAYS OF GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT RULE
RICHMOND (July 23, 2018) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring and 16 other state attorneys general have submitted public comments to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos calling on her to halt the most recent delays of the Gainful Employment Rule, which were announced on June 18, 2018.
The comments state that the further delay of the Gainful Employment Rule's disclosure requirements is unnecessarily harmful to student borrowers, an abrogation of the Department's responsibilities to protect students and taxpayers, not adequately justified, and violates the rulemaking requirements of the Higher Education Act.
"Delaying the Gainful Employment Rule disclosure requirements without justification is just another way the Trump Administration continues to actively work against students and student loan borrowers,” said Attorney General Herring. "These important requirements were put in place to help students make informed decisions and keep predatory for-profit schools in check. I will continue to work with my fellow attorneys general and demand that the Department of Education protect our students.”
The Gainful Employment Rule, among its strong protections for students, included a requirement for educational institutions to provide prospective students with accurate information about their educational programs, including the total cost of the program, the average debt load, the student loan default rate, and the average earnings of program graduates to ensure that students fully understand the financial implications of choosing to attend and to address the concern of aggressive and deceptive marketing and recruiting practices. These disclosures were required to be provided on schools' websites, in schools' promotional materials, and directly to prospective students before the students make a commitment to the institution. This delay, announced in June, is the third time that the Department has prevented the Gainful Employment Rule's required disclosures from going into effect.
In the letter, the Attorneys General note, "Students count on the Department to protect their interests and ensure that schools participating in the federal student loan program treat them fairly and give them accurate information to assist them in their decisions. In addition, taxpayers count on the Department to ensure accountability from schools that receive federal funds.”
The Attorneys General call on the Department to fulfill its responsibilities to students and taxpayers and cease its efforts to postpone a critical deadline for the issuance of disclosures required by the Gainful Employment Rule.
The coalition includes the attorneys general of Maryland, Virginia, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Illinois, Hawaii, Oregon, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, Delaware, California, New York, and North Carolina.