Recent Developments in State Authorization


As outlined in our previous posts on proposed regulations in California, we are also tracking newly proposed laws introduced in Washington State, Oregon and New York, all part of a growing trend in which state (or in one case, municipal) agencies are moving to fill perceived gaps in enforcement of federal regulations by the US Department of Education.

Washington State

The Washington legislature is considering a state “gainful employment rule” for degree-granting and private vocational schools operating in the state. Much like the federal GE rule, the law would require covered schools to demonstrate that their programs prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation, based on a debt-to-earnings rate. The law would defer to the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) to establish an acceptable debt-to-earnings metric. The statute would also require WSAC to develop an “interagency agreement” with the agency that regulates nondegree-granting institutions, the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board (WTECB), to develop similar metrics for certificate programs and schools licensed by the WTECB.

This is the state legislature’s second effort at enacting a GE statute, and the bill has momentum in a state in which Democrats control the House, Senate and governor’s office. In 2015-2016, a similar measure passed the House but failed to pass the Senate. If enacted, it is likely that more than a year will pass before WSAC develops regulations to support the new debt-to-earnings… (continue reading)