2-Pronged Strategy Against ‘Gainful’ Rule

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Media Outlet: Inside Higher Ed

Amy Laitinen and Kim Dancy were mentioned in Inside Higher Ed about federal gainful-employment rules. 

Amy Laitinen, director for higher education at New America's education policy program and a proponent of the gainful-employment rule, said by advocating for BLS income data, for-profits are pretending to seek transparency with a metric that masks real differences between programs.
“The whole point of program-level data is precisely so programs can’t hide behind averages,” she said. “Students aren’t going to average programs. They are paying for particular programs.”
Laitinen said she’s open to the idea of a gainful-employment measure that applies to all higher ed programs, if Congress considers such a change in the course of a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. But she said the broadly applied gainful rule CECU is advocating for would just water down the current regulations.
“For a lot of the folks who are saying ‘gainful [employment] for all,’ what they really mean is gainful for none,” she said.
Laitinen’s New America colleague Kim Dancy found in May that chefs in the Chicago metropolitan area averaged $48,870 per year, according to BLS data. Yet earnings outcomes of graduates who attended programs in that career pathway were significantly lower. And studies on career earnings have shown that graduates who earn less early in their careers are likely to have lower midcareer earnings as well.

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Amy Laitinen is director for higher education with the Education Policy program at New America. She previously served as a policy advisor on higher education at both the U.S. Department of Education and the White House.

Kim Dancy is a senior policy analyst with the Education Policy program at New America. She works with the higher education team, where she conducts original research and data analysis on higher education issues, including federal funding for education programs.