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Federal Court Rules Against Gainful Employment

Last week, a federal court struck down the United States Department of Education’s “gainful employment” regulations.

The gainful employment regulations, which have been on hold since July 2012, were created to measure the performance of vocational programs at for-profit and some non-profit institutions. These performance metrics were expected to be tied to federal funding amounts received by these institutions. However, the court ruled that the regulation’s collection of student data was in violation of a privacy ban that was implemented in 2008.

“The department was dealt a tough hand and they didn’t play it well,” Barmak Nassirian, higher education consultant and former staffer at the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, told Inside Higher Ed.

Implementation of the gainful employment regulations is now in jeopardy and it appears that an appeal is less likely to occur. The federal court’s ruling indicates that it will be more challenging to impose more strict policies on for-profit institutions.

The U.S. Department of Education released a statement last Wednesday and indicated that they are currently reviewing the decision by the court to determine their next steps.

“America’s students deserve career training that is affordable and leads to a good job in their chosen field, and taxpayers rightly expect their investment in federal student aid to reap returns for our economy and our nation,” the statement read.