AFR to President Obama: Protect Students – Adopt “Gainful Employment” Rule

View the PDF Version Here

January 26, 2011

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:
Thank you for your leadership to make college more affordable in order to expand opportunity

and strengthen our economy. We appreciate that, in a time of intense budget pressures, your

education reforms seek to maximize the return on taxpayer investment and eliminate waste, fraud

and abuse. That is why we firmly support the Department of Education’s prompt adoption of a

strong and enforceable “gainful employment” rule. We urge you to issue a final rule now that

will protect students and taxpayers no later than the start of the 2012-13 academic year.

Numerous investigations have revealed pervasive abuses by some career education programs:

deceptive and aggressive recruiting of students; inflated job placement rates and false reporting

to authorities; overstatement of a program’s value and understatement of its high cost; and

dismal completion rates. Too many of these programs are preying on low-income students,

minority students, and veterans who are seeking to further their education and, by doing so,

enhance their employment opportunities.

The proposed gainful employment rule implements requirements set by Congress and advances a

common-sense principle: Federal financial aid shouldn’t go to career education programs that

consistently leave students buried in debt they cannot repay.

The subprime mortgage debacle and ensuing financial crisis taught our country a hard lesson

about letting such abuses run rampant. You have an opportunity, right now, to make the right

decision for our students and our economy by strengthening and finalizing this common-sense

rule. We will support you every step of the way.


American-Arab Anti-Discrimination


American Association of Collegiate Registrars

and Admissions Officers

American Association of University Professors

American Association of University Women

American Federation of State, County, and

Municipal Employees Local 3299

American Federation of Teachers

Americans for Financial Reform

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance

California Coalition for Civil Rights

Campaign for College Affordability

Campus Progress

Labor Council for Latin American


The Leadership Conference on Civil and

Human Rights

League of United Latin American Citizens

Legal Momentum (formerly the Women’s

Legal Defense and Education Fund)

Mexican American Legal Defense and

Educational Fund


National Association for Bilingual Education

National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of

its low-income clients)

National Consumers League

National Council of La Raza

Center for Law and Social Policy

Children’s Defense Fund

The Coalition of Labor Union Women

Consumer Action

Consumers Union

Council for Opportunity in Education

Crittenton Women’s Union

Dēmos: A Network for Ideas and Action

The Education Trust


The Greenlining Institute

Hip Hop Caucus

The Institute for College Access & Success

and its Project on Student Debt

Institute for Higher Education Policy

National Education Association

Neighborhood Economic Development

Advocacy Project

Pride at Work

Public Advocates Inc.

Public Citizen

Public Higher Education Network of


Student Senate for California Community


United States Hispanic Leadership Institute


United States Student Association

Veterans of Modern Warfare

Young Invincibles

The Honorable Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education

The Honorable Jacob “Jack” Lew, Director, Office of Management and Budget

Melody Barnes, Director, Domestic Policy Council

Valerie Jarrett, Senior White House Advisor

Gene Sperling, Director, National Economic Council