The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council enthusiastically applauds today's passage by the House of Representatives of an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution on "Gainful Employment" that would block funding for its implementation. A bi-partisan coalition led by Chairman John Kline (R-MN) of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) of the Subcommittee on Higher Education, and Representatives Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), drafted the amendment which passed today by a margin of 289 to 136.
The Education Department is finalizing regulations, such as the "Gainful Employment" rule, that would target for-profit colleges by cutting off federal student aid in accordance with unacceptable student income-to-debt ratios. The plan unfairly singles out for-profits schools, which serve students who otherwise wouldn't have access to higher education. The US Chamber of Commerce warns that if these rules are passed it will result in 100,000 jobs lost and a $5.3 billion burden on taxpayers - outcomes we can ill afford.
America's small businesses depend on career colleges to train and prepare skilled workers. Small businesses offer "gainful employment" to hundreds of thousands of career school graduates in dozens of demanding professions, from nurses and health care aides, to computer technicians and chefs, from legal assistants and teachers to security and accounting professionals. Moreover, career schools are incubators for entrepreneurs - they support the aspirations of working adults looking to advance their workplace skills. Career colleges play an invaluable role in a free-market ecosystem and must be protected.
The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council strongly urges Senators to get behind this effort to defund the Gainful Employment rule. As our economy gathers momentum, we must fully support the career schools and programs that are a life line for tens of thousands of Americans looking to advance their workforce skills.
Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO