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Latino Daily News

Wednesday March 30, 2011

Hispanic Leaders Urge Sen. Reid to Defund Gainful Employment Rule

A National Latina Organization, joined with leading Hispanic organizations and concerned state legislators in urging Senator Reid (D-NV) to stand as a leader for Latinos and fight to defund the Department of Education’s controversial “Gainful Employment” rule. The Latino Coalition, the Hispanic Leadership Fund and two state legislators, Representative Pedro Marin (GA-96) and Assemblywoman Lucy Flores (NV-28), expressed their concerns for the rule in a letter that encouraged Senator Reid to follow the lead of the House of Representatives and pass an amendment similar to the version passed by the House.

In February, Representatives John Kline (MN-2), Virginia Foxx (NC-5), Alcee Hastings (FL-23) and Carolyn McCarthy (NY-4) sponsored an amendment to defund Gainful Employment that was supported by eight members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus: Reps. Baca (CA-43), Cardoza (CA-18), Costa (CA-18), Cuellar (TX-28), Pastor (AZ-04), Reyes (TX-16), Serrano (NY-16), and Sires (NJ-13).

In the letter to Senator Reid, MANA President and CEO Alma Morales Riojas raises the concern that Gainful Employment will limit students’ options to pursue a degree in higher education:

“We feel that this rule is too broad; rather than protect students, it’s going to take valuable and essential programs away from students who depend on them. Where else are our students going to turn: to community colleges that are over burdened and over capacity; or traditional universities to study history or philosophy? No! What these students want and need is to learn skills that will help them get meaningful jobs that help them get on track to lifetime careers.” 

MANA has spoken in opposition of the proposed rule, which was written with the good intention of helping students who attend career colleges from taking on too much debt, but in reality will deny students access to financial aid to attend proprietary colleges based on an arbitrary loan debt-to-income ratio.

Defunding the implementation of the rule will ensure that access is not restricted for Hispanic, African American, women and other students needing financial aid to invest in their futures and subsequently on the future of our nation.