Education Dept. To Renew Efforts At Gainful-Employment And State-Authorization Rules

The Obama administration is not giving up on efforts to hold colleges accountable for their students' employability and to force states to step up their oversight of distance education.

In a notice to appear in Tuesday's Federal Register, the Education Department says it will revisit its controversial "gainful employment" and "state authorization" regulations as part of expanded rule-making sessions on fraud in the student-aid system. Both rules have been struck down in court, following challenges by for-profit colleges.

The original "gainful employment" rule, which the department published in 2011, would have cut off federal student aid to career-oriented programs whose graduates had high debt-to-income ratios and low loan-repayment rates. A federal judge blocked the core piece of the rule before it took effect, finding that the department had the authority to define "gainful employment" but had offered no reasoned basis for its debt-repayment threshold.

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