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The Ed Department brokered a deal on 90/10 rule changes. Here’s what’s inside.

The Ed Department brokered a deal on 90/10 rule changes. Here’s what’s inside.

Higher Ed Dive

Natalie Schwartz
March 21, 2022
Dive Brief: 
  • The U.S. Department of Education reached consensus last week with higher education sector representatives on a proposal for a revamped 90/10 rule. The rule prohibits for-profit colleges from receiving more than 90% of their revenue from federal student aid.
  • Representatives of student veterans and for-profit colleges both made concessions in the agreed-upon language, which will go into effect in 2023. For instance, federal money used to support state grants for tuition would count in the 90% calculation under the proposal — a measure that has drawn opposition from for-profit institutions.
  • Career Education Colleges and Universities, a group representing the for-profit sector, applauded the department’s willingness to broker a deal on the 90/10 rule. “Although we might not like everything in this language, we can live with it,” said Nicholas Kent, senior vice president of policy and regulatory affairs for the group.
Dive Insight: 
Last week, the Education Department wrapped up months of negotiated rulemaking, a process that requires the agency to convene representatives from across higher education to attempt to reach consensus on new regulatory proposals. The sessions involved talks among more than a dozen representatives for different groups, including nonprofit colleges, for-profit institutions and consumer advocates.
The negotiators considered seven new regulatory proposals that would affect student aid programs, but they only reached consensus on two — the 90/10 rule and a regulation governing whether certain students without high school diplomas can receive federal financial aid.
“It is surprising to a lot of people in higher education that the negotiating committee reached consensus on what was probably one of the most contentious items,” Kent said. “I don’t think that a lot of people — especially when they saw the department’s opening proposal in January — thought that there was any way that the committee would reach consensus.”
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