STATEMENT: Changes to Gainful Employment Are Extralegal and Don’t Prioritize Student Interests, Says CAP’s Ben Miller

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Department of Education, led by Secretary Betsy DeVos, announced a new process that will improperly allow hundreds of programs that leave their graduates with too much debt compared with their earnings to avoid sanctions. The change relates to the appeals rights afforded to programs that risk consequences under the gainful employment regulation. Programs where graduates’ debt consists of too large a share of income may appeal these results by conducting their own survey.

Today’s announcement extends the appeals deadline until next February — more than six months after a deadline already extended once. It also eliminates any clear standards for statistical rigor.

“Weakening the appeals process is yet another extralegal action by the Department of Education to avoid enforcing a rule its political leadership does not like,” said Ben Miller, senior director for postsecondary education at CAP. “The lack of any clear standards could let any appeal pass, regardless of how ridiculous or poorly designed it is. The department should stop putting schools ahead of students and enforce the gainful employment regulation.”

Today’s announcement is another step taken by the administration to gut the gainful employment regulation. To date it has:

  • Announced it has no plans to continue publishing the next round of gainful employment data.
  • Extended appeals deadlines twice, reopening the process to all programs both times.
  • Delayed key disclosure requirements without explanation.
  • Announced a plan to rewrite the gainful employment rule.
  • Failed to conduct legally required activities needed to continue enforcing the rule.

For more information on what CAP believes should be required of an alternative appeals process, click here.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Kyle Epstein at  or 202.481.8137.