Rep. Takano Reintroduces Higher Education Regulations to Protect Students and Hold For-Profit Colleges Accountable
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) reintroduced the Protections and Regulations for Our Students, PRO Students, Act. The PRO Students Act is a comprehensive piece of legislation designed to protect students from for-profit colleges by establishing strong regulations for the for-profit college system. This legislation was originally introduced by Rep. Takano in 2015.
The abrupt closures of for-profit colleges such as Corinthian Colleges, ITT Technical Institutes, and more-recently Dream Center campuses, bring to light the urgent need to rein in the predatory and fraudulent practices in the for-profit college system.
“The future of too many students across the country has been jeopardized by the reckless practices of predatory for-profit institutions,” said Rep. Mark Takano. “Too many women, minorities, and veterans have fallen victim to abrupt closures and worthless degrees and are trapped with thousands of dollars in student loan debt they cannot repay – that is why this legislation is necessary. Congress must ensure that for-profits are being good stewards of taxpayer dollars and that students have access to a high-quality education that will lead to good job prospects and provides a foothold into the middle class.”
“The PRO Students Act will protect students and taxpayers against fraudulent colleges, give cheated students access to loan relief, and prevent wrongdoers through strong accountability,” said James Kvaal, President of The Institute for College Access and Success. “We thank Chairman Takano for his longstanding leadership in ensuring that all students, including veterans, are protected from predatory practices.”
Thousands of students affected by fraudulent practices and abrupt closures by for-profits have been left with a worthless degree, credits that cannot be transferred, and thousands of dollars in student loan debt. The Obama Administration had launched an investigation into the fraudulent practices of several for-profit institutions, but the Department of Education under Secretary Betsy DeVos halted that investigation in 2018.
It has been found that for-profit colleges’ predatory practices target vulnerable student populations, such as minorities and veterans. This bill closes the “90/10 loophole” by requiring for-profit institutions to derive at least 15 percent of their revenue from non-federal student aid and ensures that military and veterans’ education benefits are included in the federal student aid calculation. Currently, the benefits of student veterans, such as the GI Bill and other military tuition assistance, do not count toward the federal student aid calculation, making veterans targets of aggressive recruitment practices by for-profit institutions.
The PRO Students act is a comprehensive piece of legislation designed to protect our nation’s students by ensuring that students have access to important and accurate information and data, strengthening oversight and regulation, and holding schools accountable for violations and poor performance, and it will ensure that these institutions are being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
The PRO-Students Act will:
- Require proprietary institutions to derive at least 15% of their revenue from non-federal student aid and ensure that military and veterans’ education benefits are included in the federal student aid calculation
- Prohibit schools from using revenues derived from federal student aid for recruiting and marketing
- Launch a complaint tracking system for students to report grievances
- Establish a Proprietary Education Oversight Coordination Committee and create a framework for targeting and prioritizing program reviews by the Department of Education
- Strengthen sanctions for violations, establish a Student Relief Fund, and bolster consumer protections for students
- Improve the quality of and access to key information, such as the student default risk index, cohort default rates, loan repayment rates, degree completion rates, and accreditation documents
- Prohibit pre-dispute arbitration clauses in loan contracts that waive the rights available to borrowers against loan servicers
- Strengthen whistleblower protections for faculty and staff
Dayanara Ramirez (202) 225-2305
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