For decades, LDF has advocated for equal educational opportunities.  However, too many African American and other students of color and low-income students are being targeted for recruitment by for-profit institutions, encouraged to incur high amounts of debt, and left without the credentials to obtain gainful employment – which undermines the very essence of equal educational opportunity.  This has long-term implications for those students at for-profit institutions, including compromised credit scores, credentials that are not recognized in their fields, and limited options for employment. LDF has joined with several other civil rights groups in calling for the Administration to issue strong gainful employment regulations to ensure that for-profit institutions prepare students for quality employment in their fields of study. 

The Higher Education Act of 1965, which passed on the heels of other historic civil rights legislation, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, envisioned expanding educational opportunity for all Americans.  The law’s federal grants and federal student financial aid helped to expand access and opportunity for many Americans who had been priced out of the dream of higher education. It is incumbent upon civil rights and education groups to ensure that the door of opportunity opened by the law is not foreclosed by those whose practices undermine the goal of educational opportunity.  LDF also submitted a Comment Letter to the Administration urging issuance of strong final Gainful Employment regulations.  Regulations are expected from the Administration soon.

WASHINGTON – A coalition of eight civil rights organizations released a policy brief today urging the U.S. Department of Education to release a strong gainful employment regulation to protect students, particularly African-American and Latino students, from substandard career education programs.

The brief, “Gainful Employment: A Civil Rights Perspective,” documents the adverse outcomes that African-American and Latino students experience as a result of policies and practices implemented at for-profit colleges. Students at for-profit colleges are much less likely to graduate, more likely to default, and more likely to incur debt than students at public and non-profit schools. The brief details how a strong gainful employment rule will provide much needed protections to both students and taxpayers.

“Stronger oversight is desperately needed to tackle the problems of poor outcomes and high debt within career education programs,” the brief urges. “Currently, even when better and lower cost options are available, African-American and Latino students are disproportionately enrolled in schools where they are both likely to borrow and unlikely to succeed, and there are few incentives for schools to improve poorly performing programs.”

Click here to download the brief.

The brief was released by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Center for Responsible Lending, the Children’s Defense Fund, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, MALDEF, the NAACP, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the National Council of La Raza.