Resolution calls for a commission to look at career colleges and the potential negative consequences proposed rules may have on Latinos
WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) passed a resolution at their annual National Summit in San Antonio, TX on November 13 urging the Department of Education to keep access to career colleges an option for Latino students and carefully tailor its proposed "Gainful Employment" rule to remove the industry's bad actors, and to increase overall quality for Latinos seeking higher education. One of three panel discussions at the summit was dedicated to a discussion on higher education and policy options for preserving the benefits that career colleges provide even as the Department seeks to institute new rules.
"Career colleges play an important role for many non-traditional students, many of whom are Hispanic," said Senator Iris Y. Martinez, NHCSL President. " We applaud the department's efforts to address the bad actors in the career college industry. But Hispanic students disproportionally rely on financial aid to go to school and we worry that the proposed rule will have unintended consequences that will negatively affect Hispanic students. We have followed the issue very closely throughout the year and urge the department to establish a commission to further study the impact the rule will have and develop a more comprehensive approach to this issue."
NHCSL believes that career colleges have proven to be a key entry point to higher education for many Latino students who might otherwise find post-secondary education unattainable and passed a resolution asking the department to consider several concerns:
- The issues of remediation, student benchmarking and testing and clear rules for disclosing student debt responsibilities must be key components of reform.
- The ultimate rule must not deter college-going for our most vulnerable students and families.
- We should not take an unfair or slanted view to career programs, like culinary arts or graphic design, among others, which attract many students who begin college more economically vulnerable.
- A rule must increase quality of higher education, not simply take away funding for programs that either don't, or can't meet graduate salary goals within a few years of graduation.
- In evaluating a "gainful employment rule," if this remains the measure ultimately used, then the economic realities of the college-goers and their intended occupations must be considered in order to ensure we do not impose an elitist or simply inapplicable standard on those seeking careers with lower pay.
The resolution can be found at http://higheredu.nhcsl.org/the-resolution/.
In April, NHCSL members passed its first resolution calling for the Department of Education to promote fair and equal access to higher education for Hispanic students. The resolution also called for the department to carefully study the impact of the debt service-to-income ratio included in the gainful employment rule on Hispanic, low-income and other minority populations.
After passing the first resolution, NHCSL launched a web-based center on Higher Education, fueled by its desire to closely follow for the Department of Education's proposed gainful employment rule. The website explains the importance of education access for Hispanic students and weighs in on various higher education issues that affect the Hispanic community. To learn more about NHCSL's Higher Education Initiative, visit http://higheredu.nhcsl.org/.
The NHCSL is the premier national association of Hispanic state legislators working to design and implement policies and procedures that will improve the quality of life for Hispanics throughout the country. NHCSL was founded in 1989 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)3 with the mission to be the most effective voice for the more than 300 Hispanic legislators. For more information visit www.nhcsl.org.
SOURCE National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators