Lawmakers in California today announced a slew of new bills aimed at regulating for-profit colleges and protecting vulnerable students. If enacted, the legislative package — which includes seven separate bills, each authored by a different Assemblymember — would represent the strongest for-profit accountability measures in the country, and help fill the gap left by President Trump’s rollback of for-profit college oversight.
For years, The Century Foundation (TCF) has been making the case for states to enact stronger student protections and for-profit accountability measures, much like the bills just introduced in California. And today’s announcement comes only weeks after lawmakers in New York announced similar for-profit accountability bills, in addition to progress in recent months in Maryland, Maine, Oregon, Washington and Virginia. The developments are the strongest sign yet that states are determined to counter Betsy DeVos’s assault on students.
Bob Shireman, TCF senior fellow and former deputy undersecretary for education in the Obama administration, where he helped develop many of the for-profit accountability measures currently under attack in D.C., issued the following statement in response to the news:
“This is a historic day for for-profit college accountability, not just in California, but across the country. These seven bills represent a bold, precedent-setting effort to protect vulnerable students, enhance transparency and oversight of taxpayer funded-schools, and ensure that all colleges are operating on a level playing field.
“For too long, for-profit colleges in California and elsewhere have been allowed to act with impunity, bringing in billions of dollars in taxpayer money and trapping unsuspecting students in poor-quality programs with mountains of debt. With these bills, lawmakers are saying ‘no more.’ Building on California’s longstanding national leadership on college access and affordability, we urge the state legislature to enact these bold and desperately needed measures to protect students, and hope that states across the country follow suit.”
Brief descriptions of the seven bills and links to the full text are available below.
- AB 1340 (Asm. David Chiu) – Would make California the first state to adopt a gainful employment rule similar to an Obama-era regulation recently rolled back by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
- AB 1341 (Asm. Marc Berman) – Would ensure that for-profit schools do not evade oversight by posing as nonprofit or public institutions.
- AB 1342 (Asm. Evan Low) – Would require the Attorney General to review and approve all sales of nonprofit colleges to for-profit companies.
- AB 1343 (Asm. Talamantes Eggman) – Would close the federal 90/10 loophole and mandate only 80 percent of a school’s revenue could come from taxpayers.
- AB 1344 (Asm. Rebecca Bauer-Kahan) – Would require out-of-state institutions enrolling California students in online courses to comply with all California consumer protections.
- AB 1345 (Asm. Kevin McCarty) – Would prohibit colleges from requiring quotas in recruiting or paying admissions representatives commissions.
- AB 1346 (Asm. Jose Medina) – Would allow students who have been victimized by for-profit institutions that have closed to recoup costs outside of tuition.