Washington, D.C., August 26, 2013—APSCU President and CEO Steve Gunderson sent a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan asking him either to abandon the current gainful employment negotiated rulemaking process or expand the representation on the rulemaking committee to include a fair representation of private sector institutions.
In his letter, Gunderson wrote: "Of the 28 representatives the department selected, only four represent private sector colleges and universities. Several of the other representatives are on record as opposing the private sector or work for entities that are opposed to the existence of our institutions. As a result, the committee neither fairly nor adequately represents our students and institutions; rather, it is composed of vocal opponents of our sector. The department's decision to establish a rulemaking committee that underrepresents private sector colleges and universities is all the more inexplicable and inappropriate given that any final regulations that emerge from this process will disproportionally affect our institutions and students.
"A committee with this make-up is likely to draft proposed regulations that stifle educational innovation, cost jobs, and displace the students who benefit most from career and job-focused training. These outcomes will undermine the president's goal of closing the skills gap by increasing the number of Americans with postsecondary credentials. We fear that in trying a second time to adopt gainful employment regulations, the department has again chosen to overlook the positive contributions of our institutions to students who would otherwise be excluded from postsecondary education.
"The department's failure to select a fairly representative committee is particularly astonishing in this case. Indeed, the composition of the rulemaking committee is so biased and one-sided as to call into question the department's intent to fulfill its obligations under the Higher Education Act and the Administrative Procedure Act to engage in a fair process and to adopt well-reasoned regulations that are consistent with its statutory authority."
PSCUs open doors to many of the 9.1 million unemployed and 90 million undereducated Americans by providing a skills-based education. To remain competitive over the next decade, we must identify between 8 and 23 million new workers with postsecondary skills.PSCUs are a necessary part of that solution, having produced over 800,000 degrees last year alone.