|Consumer Protection for Students -- and Taxpayers|
|Education in America has changed. High school diplomas no longer provide a ticket to the middle class; more than ever before, advanced training is critical to finding and keeping a good job. Enrollment in post-secondary career programs has risen sharply, and so has the number of schools trying to grab a piece of the tuition pie. Some of these schools are "for-profit" -- that is, schools run by profit-seeking companies.|
Schools that receive federal taxpayer dollars in the form of student financial aid grants and federally-guaranteed student loans must be held accountable for the quality and outcomes of the education they provide -- for profits and non-profits alike.
To be eligible to receive these funds, federal law currently requires post-secondary career education programs to prepare students for future "gainful employment." That term has not been well-defined, opening the possibility that schools which fail to provide adequate opportunities for their students may still receive federal financial aid dollars. With the growth of the for-profit education sector, it is more important than ever that the government be clear: If a school wants to benefit from federal funds, it has to ensure students are prepared for employment in the careers for which they've trained.
Some schools have resisted the Department of Education's efforts to hold programs accountable for their use of taxpayer dollars. AAUW stands by the Department’s efforts to issue and enforce a strong rule about the meaning of "gainful employment" to ensure all post-secondary career education programs are held accountable to students and taxpayers for the product -- the education -- they are selling.
Federal tuition assistance dollars are an investment in the future economic strength of our workforce and our country's prosperity. The financially difficult times make it even more important that we make sure these tax dollars used towards that end. Tell your senators to preserve the role of the Department of Education to protect college students and taxpayers by holding schools accountable for the use of the public's investment.
Tell your senators to preserve the Department of Education's role in protecting students and taxpayers by providing a long-overdue definition of “gainful employment!” Click on the “Take Action” link in the upper right hand corner to send a message to your senators.
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