Promoting Quality in Higher Education: Examining Gainful Employment in Career Education

Earning a degree or credential beyond high school is essential to improve one’s standard of living and achieve economic mobility. However, American postsecondary education is increasingly financed through tuition paid by students and families, many of whom rely on federal student loans and grants. Given the individual and taxpayer investment in postsecondary education, it is critical to ensure that learning is of the highest quality.

Career-focused education programs, often run by for-profit colleges, are eligible to participate in federal student-aid programs with the expectation that they help students achieve meaningful employment after graduation. Left unchecked, some institutions have taken advantage of students by promising gainful postgraduation employment but leaving them buried in debt and with no job prospects. To improve accountability, the Obama administration has undertaken a multiyear effort to define what it means for an educational program to lead to gainful employment. The purpose of this regulation is to create better value for students who enroll in career education and ensure that the system guarantees students access to quality programs.

Please join the Center for American Progress for this event, at which the Obama administration will explain its policy relating to gainful employment. A panel of higher-education experts will follow to discuss the administration’s regulation.

Welcoming remarks:
Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President for Policy, Center for American Progress

Keynote speaker:
James Kvaal, Deputy Director, Domestic Policy Council, The White House

Featured panelists:
Kevin James, Research Fellow, Center on Higher Education Reform, American Enterprise Institute
Anne Johnson, Executive Director, Generation Progress
Trace Urdan, Senior Analyst, Wells Fargo Securities LLC
Nancy Zirkin, Executive Vice President and Director of Policy, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Moderated by:
David Bergeron, Vice President for Postsecondary Education, Center for American Progress


Center for American Progress, 1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC , 20005