- The Department of Education intends to delay the implementation of Obama-era regulations on fraud protection for students who attended for-profit institutions, according to the Associated Press. ED representatives claim new regulations must be written, but critics of the administration, including 18 Democratic Attorneys General, say the Trump administration is valuing the for-profit institutions over students.
- The regulations were initially set to be implemented in July 2018, but the Education Department said they wanted to delay until July 2019.
- A representative for the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, said that while there were many instances of fraud, he believed the prior regulations would make it too easy for students who had made irresponsible financial decisions to let the federal government pay for that mistake. Critics argue the decision could cost the federal government money if students default on their loans.
The damage may already be done for for-profit institutions, who faced heavy scrutiny under the Obama administration. The University of Phoenix announced late last month plans to close 20 of its campuses around the country, a decision attributed to declining enrollment at the schools, and ITT closed completely last year. Recently, the "Forever GI Bill," which was passed by Congress and signed by President Trump, sought to protect benefits for veterans and service members who had attended for-profit schools that had previously closed (many for-profit institutions targeted veterans in their recruitment practices).
Higher ed administrations at nonprofit colleges and universities could work to ensure they have financial aid specialists on hand who can specialize in how to assist students who wish to return to school or attend a certification or alternative education program; having someone on-hand who can help students in this particular situation navigate the best ways to find stability, even in the lack of federal assistance in terms of more stringent guidelines, would be helpful. Additionally, if those federal regulations are going to be delayed, nonprofit institutions can continue to try and attract student applicants away from for-profit institutions, particularly those with troubled reputations, by putting into place stronger marketing and administrative support, as well as more flexible curricula — areas in which the for-profit sector typically excels over their nonprofit peers.