By Julian Hattem - 12/13/13 02:44 PM EST
House Democrats are pushing for the Obama administration to finalize rules blocking federal money to colleges where students don't graduate with the chance to land a good job.
Outlining what type of “gainful employment” graduates will need to have in order for their alma maters to get federal funds would hold schools accountable for the education they offer, 31 Democrats wrote in a letter to Education Secretary Arne DuncanArne DuncanIn search of the surest Common Core exit route The opt-out movement and the coddling epidemic Senate approves Obama education chief MORE on Friday.
The regulations would define the term “gainful employment" as it was used in the 1965 Higher Education Act. According to the law, only education programs that “lead to gainful employment in a recognized occupation” are eligible for federal money.
Critics of some for-profit schools say the new rules are necessary to make sure that colleges aren’t saddling their students with debt without properly educating them.
"We need these rules to ensure students get what they bargained for — an education that will help them find a good job in the field they study," Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who signed the letter, said in a statement. "If these institutions are truly committed to educating students from underserved communities, they need to be equally committed to demonstrating positive outcomes for those students.“
Opponents of the rules say they would disproportionately hurt specialty training programs and block federal aid to students who need it most.
On Friday, the Education Department held a session in Washington to negotiate the potential rules.
Congress has repeatedly passed measures to block the department from issuing the regulations. Rep. Virginia FoxxVirginia FoxxOvernight Regulation: GMO labeling bill faces House vote Overnight Finance: Republicans move to block overtime rule | House, Senate split on IRS cuts | Yellen heading back before Congress Overnight Regulation: House Republicans move to block overtime rule MORE (R-Va.) introduced another bill to limit the effort this summer.