Mapping Your Future: Department of Education proposes new gainful employment regulations


Department of Education proposes new gainful employment regulations

By Catherine Mueller

May 18, 2023

Postsecondary institutions offering non-degree programs and all programs at for-profit institutions will face some higher standards in the future under proposed regulations released on May 17.

In an announcement posted on its website, the Department of Education said the proposed regulations will establish “the strongest set of safeguards ever to protect students from unaffordable debt or insufficient earnings from career training programs, along with new measures to increase transparency across all postsecondary programs.”

The Department said the proposal would create the strongest-ever Gainful Employment (GE) rule, which “would terminate access to Federal financial aid for career training programs that routinely leave graduates with unaffordable debt burdens or with earnings that are no higher than workers without any education beyond high school.”

According to the Department, the proposed GE rule is estimated to protect more than 700,000 students annually who would otherwise enroll in one of nearly 1,800 low-performing programs. “These accountability measures will not only better protect students enrolled in low-financial-value programs but will also encourage improvements across all of higher education,” the Department said in the announcement.

The Department said the proposed regulations would also bring increased transparency to the true costs and financial outcomes of nearly all undergraduate and graduate degree programs. These proposed regulations would require disclosures of what students and families are likely to pay out-of-pocket for a given program and a requirement that students acknowledge this information before receiving federal financial aid.

The proposed regulations will be published in the Federal Register on May 19, 2023. The public may submit comments on the proposed rule through the website for 30 days. The Department expects to finalize the rules later this year. Rules finalized by November 1, 2023, will go into effect on July 1, 2024.