Rep. Takano Challenges For-Profit Colleges to Support Protections for Students and Taxpayers

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), a public school teacher for 24 years and a community college trustee for two decades, challenged the for-profit education industry today to support the Department of Education’s existing Gainful Employment and Borrower Defense rules. The Obama-era rules, which are aimed at protecting students and taxpayers from fraudulent for-profit colleges, are being revised and weakened by the Trump administration. 

Rep. Takano issued the challenge at a meeting of the Department of Education’s negotiated rulemaking committee that is tasked with recommending changes to the Gainful Employment rule.

“For several years, I have heard industry leaders object to broad characterizations of for-profit education,” Rep. Takano told the rulemaking committee, which includes representatives from for-profit education companies. "In light of these objections, I am frustrated that the schools represented here today are not eagerly embracing a platform to solidify their credibility and separate themselves from the bad actors that have fleeced students and taxpayers out of billions of dollars.

“In the long run, the industry’s intense resistance to the Gainful Employment and Borrower Defense rules will be profoundly damaging to its future. By shielding the bad actors in the for-profit education sector from accountability, you become responsible for the students and taxpayers they defraud.”

Earlier this month, the Department of Education’s Inspector General (IG) expressed its concerns about a House Republican proposal to reauthorize the Higher Education Act that eliminates both the Borrower Defense and Gainful Employment rules. According to the IG, “eliminating various accountability provisions without a proven substitute would increase the risks to students and taxpayers.”

The full text of Rep. Takano’s speech is available here.  

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