The announcement of the formation of the rule-making committee, scheduled for publication in Wednesday’s Federal Register, flies in the face of a group of lawmakers who prodded Education Secretary Arne Duncan to drop the regulatory efforts in April.A federal judge previously blocked aspects of the proposed 2011 rule, which would have pulled federal student aid from vocational programs whose graduates had high debt-to-income ratios and slow loan repayments. An Education Department appeal of the judge’s ruling was denied in March, and the department declined further appeals.
The Obama administration wants to ensure that the federal aid the US provides to these programs is a worthwhile investment, paving the way for students to secure jobs that pay well. That seems to make sense.Of course, with student debt at $1 trillion and nearly half of college grads underemployed, perhaps traditional institutions of higher ed, from four-year colleges to law schools, could benefit from additional scrutiny. It certainly seems worthy of debate to us.[Mortar boards image courtesy of Shutterstock]