Education Department delays gainful employment proposal until 2023

Higher Ed Dive

Natalie Schwartz
June 22, 2022
Dive Brief: 
  • The U.S. Department of Education pushed back the timeline for publishing its proposal for a revised gainful employment rule to next year, meaning the earliest it could go into effect is mid-2024.
  • The gainful employment rule is intended to ensure students who complete career education programs can find work and pay back their student debt. The Biden administration was originally slated to release its gainful employment proposal in July, but it pushed that date to April 2023 in a regulatory agenda released Tuesday.
  • Representatives of the for-profit sector applauded the delay. They’ve previously criticized the Biden administration’s ideas for a gainful employment rule — which looked at students’ debt levels and how their earnings stack up to high school graduates — arguing that they unfairly target the for-profit sector.
Dive Insight: 
Because of the delay, the gainful employment regulation will miss a key deadline of Nov. 1 for the rule to take effect next year. The earliest the rule can now take effect is July 1, 2024.
Policy experts warned the delay could allow poorly performing colleges to continue receiving federal funding and harming students.
“Ultimately, this can be devastating for students who enroll in these programs,” said Michael Itzkowitz, a senior fellow at Third Way, a left-leaning think tank. “It’s important that the Education Department works on implementing this rule as soon as possible.”