DOJ Asks Judge to Throw Out For-Profit Schools’ Lawsuit

Student and consumer advocates argue that the rules are necessary to curb the schools' faulty promises.

By Julianne Hing Mar 24, 2011

The Obama adminstration is going to defend new rules it drafted last year to rein in the for-profit schools industry. This week the Department of Justice asked a judge to dismiss industry attempts to challenge the new regulations from going into effect in July, Higher Ed Watch reported.

In January the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, an umbrella group representing 1,500 for-profit companies, sued the federal government to try to stop the new regulations from being implemented. They argued that three rules in particular, which forbid deceptive advertising and commission pay for admissions representatives and requires states to first approve schools that students may receive federal student loans from, were too restrictive.

"APSCU has filed this lawsuit to prevent these unlawful regulations from harming students and the schools that serve them," the plaintiffs wrote in their lawsuit. APSCU called the new rules "unlawful and arbitrary and capricious."

"The challenged incentive compensation, misrepresentation, and state authorization regulations are all permissible under the plain language of the HEA," the DOJ said in its filing. "Plaintiff’s crabbed reading of that broad language is neither persuasive nor required."

Student and consumer advocates argue that the rules are necessary to curb many of the abuses that for-profit schools are accused of, which have also given way to glaring debt and staggering default rates among for-profit school students.