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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Press Release - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Letter: Civil Rights Groups Strongly Oppose Amendment to Block Accountability for For-Profit Colleges
The Leadership Conference Sends Letters to House Members and Secretary of Education, Hosts Press Call Tomorrow on the Topic

For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Simpson, 202.466.2061, simpson@civilrights.org
February 15, 2011

Washington, D.C. – Today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national civil and human rights organizations, sent a letter to House members expressing strong opposition to the Kline-Fox-McCarthy-Hastings Amendment to H.R. 1, which would limit the Department of Education’s ability to issue or enforce regulations on colleges – especially for-profit colleges – that fail to prepare their students for “gainful employment.” 

“This amendment to H.R. 1 would hobble the administration’s ability to protect students from for-profit colleges that have used the American Dream as bait to trap vulnerable students into underperforming schools and saddle them with a lifetime of debt,” said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference. “We support the Department of Education’s efforts to hold these schools accountable by issuing this rule and vigorously enforcing it.”

Under the rule, colleges that fail to demonstrate that their programs are preparing students for “gainful employment” would risk losing their eligibility to participate in federal education grant and loan programs. The letter highlights the benefits of the rule for populations of great importance to the civil rights community, including:

  • Students of color,who represent about half of the undergraduate students in for-profit programs;
  • Low-income students,who make up 6 in 10 for-profit college students;
  • Women, who comprise nearly two-thirds of for-profit college undergraduates; and
  • Armed-service members and veterans, a growing target student body for many of for-profit colleges since the passage of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

The Leadership Conference will also host a press call on the topic on Wednesday, February 16th at 3:00 PM to underscore the importance of gainful employment regulations to the future of students nationwide.

The call will feature:     

Wade Henderson, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Beth Glenn, Education Director at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Thomas Saenz, President and General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF)
Lindsay McCluskey, President of the United States Students Association (USSA)
Lisa Maatz, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations at the American Association of University Women (AAUW)
Monica Hall, Former student at a for-profit college

To dial in, journalists may call 866-952-1906 at 3:00 on 2/16 and use the passcode “gainful.”
 

The full text of the letter is below.


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Protect Students and Taxpayers – Support Gainful Employment Rules

OPPOSE Kline-Foxx-McCarthy-Hastings Amendment to H.R. 1

February 15, 2011

Dear Representative:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a diverse coalition of more than 200 national organizations working to protect and promote the rights of all persons in the United States, we urge you to oppose the amendment to H.R. 1 that would limit the Department of Education’s ability to issue or enforce regulations regarding “gainful employment.” 

The Leadership Conference strongly supports Secretary Arne Duncan’s proposed and published regulations under the Higher Education Act regarding “gainful employment.”  (See attached letter.) These regulations contain critical protections for students as well as taxpayers and were published in the Federal Register on July 26, 2010 (75 Fed. Reg. 43616 et seq.) and on October 29, 2010 (75 Fed Reg. 66832 et seq.).   The Kline-Foxx-McCarthy-Hastings amendment would effectively nullify this provision of the law and thwart the Secretary’s much-needed efforts to enforce it.

These regulations are particularly important for:  (1) students of color, who represent about half of the undergraduate students in for-profit programs; (2) low-income students, who make up 6 in 10 for-profit college students; (3) women, who comprise nearly two-thirds of for-profit college undergraduates; and (4) armed-service members and veterans, a growing target student body for many of for-profit colleges since the passage of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

Sincerely,

Wade Henderson                                                         Nancy Zirkin

President & CEO                                                         Executive Vice President

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