193 Vocational Programs Fail ‘Gainful Employment’ Test

About 5 percent of vocational programs that are subject to the Education Department’s controversial gainful-employment rule failed to meet the regulation’s three key benchmarks that will eventually be required for them to receive federal student aid, data released by the department today show.

The graduates of 193 programs at 93 different institutions, all of them for-profit, are carrying debt-to-income ratios that are too high and have loan-repayment rates that are too low under the benchmarks the Department of Education established in the rule, issued in June 2011.

None of those programs will receive any sanctions because the data were released for informational purposes only. Full enforcement of the regulations will be phased in over the next several years. Starting in 2013, the affected vocational programs must meet at least one of three benchmarks in at least three out of four consecutive years in order to remain eligible for federal student aid.

In order to meet the first benchmark, at least 35 percent of a program’s graduates must be actively repaying their student loans. In addition, under the rules the median student-debt burden of a program’s graduates cannot exceed 12 percent of those students’ aggregate annual total income, nor 30 percent of their annual discretionary income.

The gainful-employment rule applies only to nondegree-granting vocational programs, which include 42,000 programs at public and private colleges, and roughly 13,000 programs at for-profit colleges. Many vocational programs are exempt from the regulation, however, because they have fewer than 30 student-loan borrowers. (Read more.)

Via Michael Stratford, The Chronicle of Higher Ed.

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SUNY Mulls New High School Exam to Test College Readiness

A state task force is considering the development of a new exam for high school sophomores that would assess their readiness for basic college work, State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher told The Post-Standard.

In an interview last week, Zimpher said the idea is one of many being considered by SUNY’s Remediation Task Force, a panel created in May to find ways to stem the flow of students who arrive at community colleges unable to do basic work.

An exam at the end of sophomore year — which could be introduced as early as the 2013-14 school year — would allow high school students and their teachers to identify and improve the areas where they are most deficient.

“If we could possibly administer something commonly across the state in the sophomore year, we would have all of the junior and senior year to work through improvement and remediation,” Zimpher said.

The chancellor has identified the remediation issue as a key focus for SUNY this year. Statewide, 40 percent to 70 percent of students seeking a two-year associate’s degree arrive on campus needing to take at least one remedial course. Those students end up spending their time and money on classes that offer no college credits.

At Onondaga Community College, 59 percent of first-time, full-time degree-seeking students were placed into remedial classes in math, reading or English in the fall 2010 semester, spokesman Roger Mirabito said. (Read more.)

Via Paul Riede, The Post-Standard.

Posted in Postsecondary (13-18), Testing. Tags: . Comments Off on SUNY Mulls New High School Exam to Test College Readiness