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Education Dept.’s Progress Is Stalled in Complying With Consumer Rule

The Education Department has not made any progress toward generating data this year to comply with the Obama-era gainful-employment rule and does not have “any timetable” for doing so, according to a letter last week from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The hotly contested regulation, a holdover from President Barack Obama’s administration, is meant to hold career-preparation programs accountable when their graduates’ education debts consistently exceed their ability to repay them.

The letter came in response to questions submitted by Sen. Richard J. Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, as part of a Senate committee’s consideration of the Trump administration’s 2018 budget request. Senator Durbin asked the secretary about the draft completer list — the first step in generating gainful-employment data. Last year the Education Department under President Obama sent that list to institutions for review by June. Ms. DeVos wrote to Senator Durbin that the department had not yet provided the list to institutions this year.

The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Chronicle.

In June the department announced that it would begin the process of rolling back the regulation. The negotiated rule-making process to rework the rule got underway last month. The department is required to comply with the regulation, as written, during that renegotiation.

“It is time for us in Congress to speak up,” said Senator Durbin in a speech last week on the Senate floor. ”It is time for Secretary DeVos and the Trump administration to stop aiding and abetting for-profit colleges.”

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