It's been an exciting -- and triumphant! -- week for career colleges. Bloomberg.com reports that private sector colleges and universities (PSCUs) have won a battle with the federal government. They will now receive more time to comply with "gainful employment" regulation. The article reports that under "the rules to be published ... for-profit colleges, including University of Phoenix owner Apollo Group Inc.(APOL), won't risk losing their federal funding until 2015.... Under an earlier proposal, companies could have lost aid as soon as next year."
The Minneapolis Star Tribune picked up on the story, reporting that after "a long wait, the U.S. Department of Education has issued rules that require public and private colleges which offer career education to prove that they are preparing students for 'gainful employment.'" The article goes on to report that the "final rules, which are more lenient than many anticipated, provided long-awaited clarity to Wall Street, and sent stocks of for-profit education companies soaring."
Time Magazine weighs in on the issue, reporting that "the reforms of the career sector come at a time when public opinion seems divided on the true purpose and value of higher education. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that about 47% of the public thinks that the main purpose of a college education is to teach work-related skills and knowledge, while 39% say it is to help a student grow personally and intellectually."
Regardless of the purpose of a college education, the institutions providing it receive a huge amount of federal money. Whether they can prove they are worthy of that money by 2015 remains the big question.