It looks like for-profit colleges will live to see another day. HispanicBusiness.com reports that the "Obama administration['s] efforts to regulate for-profit colleges suffered a blow Friday, with an overwhelming vote in the House of Representatives to block the controversial 'gainful employment' rules."
The vote represents a pre-emptive strike against
the still-unpublished rule dealing with debt and income, which already has been delayed once, in the face ofcongressional and industry opposition.... The amendment also blocks funding to implement or administer rules issued last year mandating that new for-profit programs be approved by DOE and requiring for-profits to submit additional data about their operations to the department.
The rule's backers claim they only want to curtail the activities of those for-profit universities which have thus far failed to provide value to their students.
Calling the new rules "arbitrary," opponents to the proposed legislation argue that they would deny employment and educational opportunities to more than 1.5 million students.
The Huffington Post reports that no less an estimable personage than U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has acknowledged the role for-profits play in providing career options to the nation's most vulnerable and impoverished populations. "'Let me be crystal clear,'" the HuffPo article quotes Duncan as saying,
"for-profit institutions play a vital role in training young people and adults for jobs. They are critical to helping America meet the President's 2020 goal. They are helping us meet [sic] the explosive demand for skills that public institutions cannot always meet."
Career colleges enroll early 2.6 million U.S. students. What will happen to them if they no longer have the choice to pursue a vocational education at institutions which cater to those populations traditional brick-and-mortar institutions cannot seem to accommodate? If proposed legislation debars for-profit institutions from extending educational opportunities to such students, then new, more equitable, places of higher learning need to step in to fill the gap -- and quickly.