Gainful Employment


To remain eligible for Title IV student aid program funds unde​r the Higher Education Act, vocational programs of training at non-profit and for-profit institutions are required by statute to prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation. Examples of these programs include training in auto mechanics, cosmetology, culinary arts, and heavy equipment operation.

To address growing concerns and evidence that many gainful employment programs may be engaging in unscrupulous practices, the Department of Education established regulations aimed at improving program integrity. The Obama Administration released final regulations in October 2014, to become effective July 2015.

The timeline for institutions to comply with this regulation was further delayed, however, to provide the Trump Administration additional time to review the rule. In August 2018, the Department of Education submitted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to rescind the gainful employment regulations. A final rule is forthcoming.

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