Durbin: Gainful Employment Rule Helps Students And Parents Make Smarter College Choices

Earnings data released today shows community college career training programs outperform similar programs at for-profit colleges

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today praised the U.S. Department of Education’s release of graduate earnings data for thousands of career training programs as part of the Department’s implementation of the Gainful Employment rule. The data confirms that public undergraduate certificate programs outperform for-profit certificate programs when it comes to new graduate income. The average earnings of graduates of public certificate programs surpass those of for-profit graduates by nearly $9,000. The data also shows that nearly 1 out of every 3 graduates of for-profit certificate programs see average earnings below $14,500, the yearly income of a full-time worker earning the federal minimum wage.

“In a higher education landscape that has seen the abrupt closure of one for-profit college after another and the resulting educational dilemmas for students and costs to taxpayers, a Gainful Employment rule that weeds out underperforming programs is more important than ever. In addition to being a strong accountability measure for schools, this rule will empower students and parents to make better informed decisions when shopping for a college through the release of data like we saw today that shows on average certificate programs at community colleges are better options than those at for-profit schools,” said Durbin. “I commend Secretary King on this milestone in the implementation of the Gainful Employment rule and look forward to full implementation, including the release of final debt-to-earnings rates and school disclosures to students, under this Administration.”

Federal law requires most for-profit programs and certificate programs at not-for-profit and public institutions to prepare students for “gainful employment in a recognized occupation.” The Department’s Gainful Employment rule seeks to hold institutions accountable to that statutory responsibility.  Durbin has supported the Administration’s efforts to develop and implement a strong Gainful Employment rule that protects students and taxpayers from worthless programs.