U.S. Chamber Outlines Opposition to Gainful Employment Regulation

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - 8:00pm

Says Regulation Will Limit Americans’ Access to Education and Job Training, Have Chilling Effect on Innovation

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education strongly opposing the draft gainful employment regulation which would require an arbitrary debt-to-income ratio for certain institutions of higher education. The Chamber urged the Department to withdraw the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, citing the harmful, unintended consequence of limiting students’ access to educational opportunities that would result.

“This ill-conceived regulation will work against job creation, only resulting in jobs lost and fewer Americans getting the postsecondary education and training they need to secure work in today’s economy,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber in the letter.

“There is one over-arching issue we are compelled to raise about this Administration’s regulatory and legislative agenda: whether one agrees with the regulation or not, it is overly complex and confusing,” added Donohue in the letter. “The truth is no one seems to fully understand its overall impact, the reporting burden that will be placed on schools, students, and even other Federal agencies, as well as its impact on our nation's economy.”

The letter outlines the Chamber’s dedication to strengthening the competitiveness of the U.S. economy to increase opportunity and prosperity for all Americans. Asserting “the need for private sector investment and innovation in higher education is critical at this time,” the letter cites the following major concerns with the gainful employment regulation:

  • The rule will have a chilling effect on innovation and will result in reduced access, less opportunity, and fewer choices and convenience for students.
  • The Department lacks the data required to sufficiently understand the true impact of this far-reaching regulation, particularly on the minority community.
  • The Chamber is concerned that institutions will be forced to reject low-income students in order to ensure compliance with the arbitrary debt to income ratio proposed in this rule.
  • This measure, by its nature, targets high-quality degree programs that take longer to complete, in favor of less costly diploma and certificate programs.
  • This recent action runs counter to the President’s call for 5 million more college graduates by 2020 targeting a sector of higher education that serves low-income and minority students and has provided an alternative to traditional higher education for many students that would not otherwise have access.


“Once again, this Administration is attempting to regulate America into an economic recovery and causing tremendous uncertainty in yet another sector of the economy,” concluded Donohue.

A copy of the letter is available at: http://library.uschamber.com/sites/default/files/legacy/issues/education/files/2010_08_18_Gainful_Employment_fromUSCC.pdf  

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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