In 2014, the U.S. Department of Education adopted the “Gainful Employment” rule to address overwhelming evidence that some postsecondary career training programs, particularly at for-profit institutions, were failing to prepare students for jobs that would enable them to repay their federal student debt, thus endangering the federal government’s investment in these schools by way of federal student aid and leaving some students worse off than they would have been had they never pursued postsecondary education. The rule imposes new accountability and disclosure requirements for certain career training programs. The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU), which represents for-profit schools, challenged the rule in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Public Citizen represented amici in support of the rule and the Department of Education in both the district court and D.C. Circuit. Amici advocate for students and college access, civil rights, veterans, educators, and consumers. Their briefs explained why the rule benefits students and described the substantial evidence demonstrating the need for the rule. The district court upheld the Gainful Employment rule in full, as did the D.C. Circuit. APSCU’s petition for rehearing en banc in the D.C. Circuit was denied.