Giving Compass' Take:

· In this issue brief from The Heritage Foundation, Lindsey Burke discusses the major improvements needed in higher education and how to ease the burden of federal regulation.

· What specifically needs be addressed to improve America's higher education system? What are the gainful employment and 90/10 rules? How are they affecting college students?

· Read more about reauthorizing the Higher Education Act.

The higher education system in America needs significant reform. Twin challenges of high cost and low quality require attention from federal policymakers—who oversee tens of billions in federal aid to colleges and universities annually. In recent years, some policymakers, most notably during the Obama Administration, have singled out for-profit universities for additional federal regulation. However, targeting for-profit colleges, many of which are meeting the needs of students historically underserved by “traditional” universities, is not the way to improve outcomes sector-wide. The vast amount of taxpayer subsidies that Congress pours into the entire higher education sector is the issue that deserves scrutiny, and should be the primary focus of any Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization. Additionally, as this Issue Brief explains, regulations, when promulgated, should be applied evenly to all universities. The entirety of higher education needs improvement, which will not be achieved by singling out for-profit colleges.

Two regulations have made it clear over the past decade that the so-called for-profit sector has been unfairly targeted, and as such, deserves a reprieve. The first is the Obama-era gainful employment rule; the second is the 90/10 rule.

The Department of Education is working to overhaul the “gainful employment” regulation put in place during the Obama Administration that especially targeted for-profit colleges, requiring their graduates to achieve government-defined debt-to-earnings income ratios. The Trump Administration’s Education Department suspended the rule, which had gone into effect in July 2015, and is not applying it while the agency works to rewrite, or eliminate, it.

Read the full article about the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act by Lindsey Burke at The Heritage Foundation.