[JURIST] The US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Tuesday ruled in favor of tight regulations pointed at the for-profit college industry. The court ruled that the Education Department [official website] has the right to demand that schools show that their graduates are financially dependent enough to repay their student loans. Fraudulent colleges have been the subject of scrutiny [AP report] by the department for over a year now as they seek to limit the ability of these institutions to target low-income students and receive federal student loans and grants in the process. After the new rules go into effect on July 1, a college program will be required to show that the estimated annual loan payment of a standard graduate does not exceed 20 percent of his or her discretionary income or 8 percent of their total earnings. Programs that fail to pass the new standards will be at risk for losing access to federal funding. The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) [official website] unsuccessfully sued to prevent the rules from taking effect. The APSCU, a trade group that represents roughly 1,400 for-profit colleges, argued that the regulations were at odds with existing law.
Legislation involving for-profit college education and education in general has generated controversy within the US the past few years. In August 2014 a judge for a Travis County Civil Court in Texas ruled [JURIST report] that the Texas legislature failed to meet its constitutional duty to provide for Texas public schools because the school finance system is structured, operated, and funded so that it cannot provide a constitutionally reasonable education for all Texas schoolchildren. Also last August education advocacy groups in New York challenged the state’s teacher tenure laws [JURIST report], claiming that laws protecting teacher employment violate the civil rights of children to a quality education. Last June a judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court ruled that [JURIST report] California’s system for tenure and seniority for public school teachers is unconstitutional.