For-profit college lobbyists are making a last ditch effort to get Congress to include a controversial provision blocking the Department of Education from issuing a final regulation on "Gainful Employment" in the spending bill it will be voting on this week to finance the government for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year.
As Higher Ed Watch reported yesterday, the tentative budget deal that the White House and Congressional leaders reached late Friday night did not include this provision, which would have prohibited the Education Department from finalizing a rule that aims to prevent unscrupulous for-profit colleges from overloading financially needy students with unmanageable levels of debt. This was one of several hot-button policy riders House Republicans were pushing that the White House rejected.
But career college lobbyists have not given up the fight. On Saturday afternoon, the group formerly known as the Career College Association sent out an alert to its members, entitled "URGENT REQUEST: WE NEED YOU TO MAKE CALLS THIS WEEKEND!" Claiming that the issue is "NOT yet resolved," Harris Miller, the organization's president wrote:
Therefore, we encourage you TODAY and throughout this weekend to contact the offices of your Congressman/Senators urging them to support inclusion of the Kline/Hastings amendment [forbidding Ed Dept from finalizing Gainful Employment rule] in the final package. In particular, if you have a relationship with the following key Congressional leaders -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Republican Thad Cochran (R-MS), House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), or House Appropriations Committee Ranking Democrat Norm Dicks (D-WA) -- please make a special effort to reach those Members.
Given the fact that the for-profit higher education industry has spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress to stop the Department from moving forward with this regulation, it's hardly surprising that career college lobbyists are not conceding defeat yet.
At Higher Ed Watch, we will continue to monitor this story as it develops.