According to the press release, Acting Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. wants to stop colleges from forcing students to sign arbitration agreements that effectively insulate the colleges from liability for their wrongdoing. As DOE explained:
Forced arbitration provisions used by many schools in their enrollment agreements – often buried in the fine print – effectively prevent students from seeking redress for harm caused by their school and hide wrongdoing from the Department and the public. Such agreements often bar students from bringing their legal claims in a group, making it financially impossible for individual students to challenge schools. Some agreements require disputes to be filed in secret tribunals where little or no records are kept; some prohibit students from speaking about the claims they file. The Department will discuss with negotiators how to end such outrageous practices.DOE also wants to "incorporate crucial elements of state consumer protection laws" in new regulations. This too is a good thing. But why did DOE wait so long?
And why is DOE seeking to enact reforms through a "negotiated rulemaking process"? These reforms should be nonnegotiable. All for-profit colleges should be subject to state consumer-protection laws, and all for-profits should be barred from forcing students to sign arbitration clauses that protect the colleges from liability for fraud and wrongdoing.
The next presidential election is eight months away. I predict nothing will get done regarding predatory for-profit colleges before Barack Obama leaves office. And we haven't hear a a peep out of Hillary about cracking down on this sleazy industry. No wonder young voters have rejected her.
U.S. Department of Education. U.S. Department of Education Takes Further Steps to Protect Students from Predatory Higher Education Institutions. March 11, 2016. Accessible at http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-takes-further-steps-protect-students-predatory-higher-education-institutions?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=