DearColleague.us

Letter

From: The Honorable Steve Cohen
Sent By: patrick.cassidy@mail.house.gov
Bill: H.R. 4101
Date: 11/30/2015

Co-Sponsor the Bipartisan Protecting Our Students and Taxpayers (POST) Act

Deadline for Original Co-Sponsors Wednesday 11/18/15 at 5:00pm

 

Original Co-Sponsors: Representative Walter Jones (R-NC), Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA)

Dear Colleague,

Current law prohibits for-profit colleges and universities from deriving more than 90% of their revenue from the U.S. Department of Education’s federal student aid programs. The other 10% is required to come from sources other than the federal government.

Because of the way the law was written, veterans’ and active duty service members’ federal student aid does not currently count toward the 90%; instead, it may be included among a for-profit educational institution’s goal of 10% non-federal revenue. As a result, for-profit colleges and universities have been aggressively recruiting and enrolling veterans, service members and their families to their programs as a way to comply with the 90-10 rule.

To better protect students and our taxpayer dollars, the POST Act would re-instate the original ratio of 85-15 (it was loosened to 90-10 in 1998), and change the definition of what counts as federal revenue so that it includes all federal funds like G.I. bill benefits and the Department of Defense’s tuition assistance funds. This new definition would eliminate the powerful incentive for for-profit schools to aggressively recruit service members and ensure that all schools are complying with the law as it was intended.

The POST Act would:

  • Reinstate the 15% minimum on revenue that for-profit colleges must receive from sources other than the Federal Government
  • Strengthen the definition of federal aid to include G.I. bill funds, Department of Defense Tuition Assistance benefits, and all other federal tuition assistance
  • Eliminate accounting tricks that inflate non-federal funding sources
    • Currently, for-profit colleges that issue their own private loans directly to students are allowed to calculate a large portion of their yet-to-be-paid-back loans as non-federal revenue, even though they haven’t accrued revenue from the unpaid loans. For-profit educational institutions lump these expected future payments into their non-federal revenue percentage, and are able to artificially inflate their portion of non-federal revenue. This legislation would only allow actual payments made on private loans they issue to be counted as revenue.
  • Increase the penalty for rule-breakers by causing for-profit colleges to lose eligibility to participate in federal student aid programs after 1 year of noncompliance with the new 85-15 rule (currently, they do not face penalties until they have been noncompliant for 2 years)

I hope that you will join me as a co-sponsor of this important legislation. It is the House companion to S. 2272.

If you have any questions, or would like to cosponsor the bill, please contact Patrick Cassidy of my staff at Patrick.Cassidy@mail.house.gov or at (202) 225-3265, or Bradley Ryon of Representative Walter Jones’ staff at Bradley.Ryon@mail.house.gov or at (202) 225-3415.

 

Sincerely,

Steve Cohen
Member of Congress