Cynicism is supposed to be a bad thing. We are supposed to believe that our fellow man shares our values and can generally be trusted. Yet sometimes cynicism is justified–even necessary. Certainly that is now the case when it comes to America's relationship with Washington politicians, and particularly this Administration.
After all the public has learned about how the Administration purposefully deceived the public about the known consequences of the policies contains in ObamaCare, only a fool would accept what they say about how other proposed laws and initiatives will work without checking the fine print himself.
Americans should keep this in mind as they learn about new regulations from the Department of Education. The regulations were released on the Friday before the election, naturally, which is just more evidence that the Administration doesn't want anyone paying close attention to what they are up to.
The Wall Street Journal editorial page explains today how this latest version of the gainful employment rule, which the Administration claim is necessary to protect students, will in fact target higher education institutions that serve higher-risk, less-advantaged student populations. According to the Department, about 1,400 programs which currently serve 840,000 students won't meet the criteria under the new rule, and therefore students in these programs—who are far more likely to be minorities and come from low-income households and therefore have less financial support from their families than those at tradtional colleges and universities—won't have access to student loans.
As I wrote in this IWF policy focus, if the Administration's real goal is to encourage a more efficient higher education system and protect students from valueless degrees, then they would focus on much more sweeping reform of the higher education system, rather than targeting one subset of higher education providers. Instead the rule reeks of elitism in decreeing that somehow an art history or anthropology degree from a taxpayer-supported public university has more intrinsic value and should be held to a different standard than a skills-based degree program from a for-profit education institution.
We need a real education marketplace to meet the needs of all students – including those who are seeking education programs that offer technical expertise and help them gain entry into a discrete field such as mechanics, medical technicians, computer programming, and engineering to name but a few. The federal government should be focused on creating a level playing field for all higher education institutions rather than showering taxpayer-support on a favored few and crushing those that serve students most in need.