For-profit college representatives say they shouldn't have to tell prospective students whether they are likely to afford their debts after attending school, arguing the disclosures wouldn't be helpful.
But the Department of Education says this is "nonsense," according to a filing last week, the latest round in a federal court battle between the Obama administration and a key for-profit college trade group.
At issue are rules that would require for-profit colleges to disclose statistics on how students cope with their debts after graduating or dropping out of school. The data would indicate how many students are repaying loans, and how their loan debts will compare to earnings after graduation.
For nearly three years, the administration has attempted to rein in abuses at for-profit institutions that leave students with huge debts and few job prospects. Because the industry gets most of its revenue from the federal government, in the form of Pell grants and student loans, the Department of Education has tried to gauge whether such schools are preparing students for careers that will allow them to repay debts.
In a federal court filing last month, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) argued that the student debt disclosures would not provide "any meaningful information to prospective students."
Last week, the Department of Education replied: "Plaintiff's assertion that… information on a program's repayment rate and debt-to-income ratios will not be meaningful to students, is nonsense."
The department went on to say the measurements provide "valuable information that many – if not all – prospective students considering whether to enroll in a program would like to have."
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