For-Profit College Conference

A meeting last between education officials and representatives of for-profit apparently went rather well.

The last day of a conference about higher education sponsored by the organization formerly known as the Career College Association featured U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Education James Kvaal, who plays an important role in regulating for-profit colleges.

According to a piece in Inside Higher Ed:

Things stayed mostly cordial Friday during a Q&A session between a top Education Department official, at times on the defensive, and a roomful of for-profit college officials, investors and advocates.

Kvaal, the relatively new deputy undersecretary of education, made a brief speech before fielding questions regarding the Obama administration’s “gainful employment” rules, accusations of hostility against for-profit colleges, and complaints of unfair expectations. Kvaal took no detours from the administration’s public stances — expressing an appreciation both for the important role for-profit institutions play and, “at the same time,” for the added responsibility they bear to ensure that their graduates achieve gainful employment, especially when riddled with debt.

Well “cordial” is nice, but hardly surprising. No one was expecting Kvaal to come to blows with Harris Miller or something, thrilling as that would be for Washington journalists.

What people are really interested in seeing here are the new “gainful employment” rules—under which schools wouldn’t be eligible for federal financial aid if average graduates need to spend more than a certain portion of their starting salaries to service student loans—expected to be released by the Department of Education in early 2011 and go into effect in 2012.

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