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It's Official: Gainful Employment to be Repealed

by Tod Massa 10. August 2018 22:26

Here's the story at InsideHigherEd.

Here's the argument presented in the two-page factsheet regarding the draft notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM):

Research findings published subsequent to the GE regulations pointed out that the D/E rate is not an accurate proxy for quality or performance.  In addition, because the Department failed to establish a single definition of an in-field job placement or identify a reliable data source to collect and verify these data, information reported by programs could be misinterpreted by students and could mislead students into selecting a program with lower actual outcomes.  

Perhaps most importantly, because the GE regulations applied to only a small group of academic programs, students could not rely on GE data or disclosures to inform their enrollment decisions unless they were considering only those programs covered by the regulations.   

The Department continues to believe that data such as completion rates, program cost, accreditation, and consistency with licensure requirements are important to consumers, but not just those students who are considering enrolling in a GE program.  Therefore, in the NPRM we request public comment concerning whether or not the Department should amend 34 CFR 668.14 to require institutions to disclose, on the program webpage, information about the program size, its completion rate, its cost, whether or not it is accredited, and whether the program meets the requirements for licensure in the State in which the institution is located and in any other States for which the institution has determined that the program enables graduates to become licensed or work in their field, as a condition of the Program Participation Agreement.

 
I will let others, like Ben Miller, focus on how badly the draft NPRM justifies the plan to eliminate the GE rules and their protections for students. Instead, let's talk about the text above in bold. Both the factsheet and NPRM mention the possibility/advisability of requiring programs to disclose program completion rates on their websites. There are no other details unfortunately. Think about it. Program completion rates for vocationally oriented program with limited options for coursework variation is one thing, completion rates for many, perhaps most, undergraduate majors at four-year colleges are problematic to say the least. 

When does the clock start - the first time a student declares a major?
Are major programs without formal entry requirements treated the same as those that have such?
How are changes in major for degree completers handled?

I have to say, this might be one most fun Technical Review Panels in recent years.

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