Washington Post Co. hires Raben Group to lobby on for-profit college regulations

The Washington Post Company is turning to a K Street firm to lobby on a regulatory proposal that could impact Kaplan, Inc., its profitable education subsidiary. 

According to a disclosure form filed Wednesday, the company has opened an account with the Raben Group to lobby on proposed regulations from the Department of Education (DoE). The lobbying registration was first reported Friday by The Sunlight Foundation.

The disclosure form states Raben will work on "proposed U.S. Department of Education 'gainful' employment regulations and future legislation affecting the operations of for-profit institutions of higher education including Kaplan higher education."

Kaplan is already a client of the lobbying firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, according to disclosure records.  

The proposed rules from the DoE would require for-profit colleges — including those run by Kaplan — to show that their graduates are earning enough to repay their student loans. The annual loan payments of graduates would not be allowed to exceed 8 percent of their starting salaries.

The controversial rule was supposed to be finalized by Nov. 1, but the Obama administration delayed that decision in late September amid an outcry from some Democrats who said the regulation could make it harder for low-income students to enroll in college.

For-profit schools that don’t meet the employment requirements could be cut off from federal aid. The industry received a total of $24 billion in federal grants and loans last year.

The rule is still slated to take effect in July 2012.

Kaplan filed public comments with the DoE in September laying out its opposition to the gainful employment proposal. The document can be viewed here.