America’s for-profit colleges are working long hours to help reduce the power of the Department of Education’s new “gainful employment” rules (designed to prevent these institutions from saddling students with too much debt). According to an article by Tamar Lewin in the New York Times:

In addition to making personal visits to Capitol Hill, executives at the colleges have provided employees with “personalized” letters to send to Washington and urged students to speak out against the proposals.

So far, the department has received about 45,000 letters on the proposed “gainful employment” regulations, in the comment period that ends Thursday.

Like all federal regulations, the new rules on federal student aid are subject to a public comment period, which last from 30 to 180 days.

Some of the “personalized” letters appear to be only tangentially related to the new regulations. According to the article:

Students at a particular school sent in dozens of hand-written letters asking for continued aid to for-profit colleges, but never mentioning the regulations. [A Department of Education employee] said he called a letter-writer to ask whether the letter was intended as a comment on the regulations, and was told, “This is what the school asked us to write.”

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer