The fallout from the new federal education rules pertaining to financial aid that went into effect a few weeks ago for nonprofit colleges is getting worse. For instance, Sanford-Brown College, which has 18 career colleges, just announced that new students will no longer be accepted. However, the college also said it plans to start phasing out brick-and-mortar locations, opting instead of online educational opportunities.
According to a spokesperson for Sanford-Brown College, the focus will go back to the two online universities it has, American InterContinental and Colorado Technical University, while reducing the number of physical campuses. Basically, a phase-out of brick-and-mortar campuses equals a discontinuation of operations to provide students with a “reasonable” chance to complete respective courses of study prior to a campus actually closing.
Although no date has been set for all of the Sanford-Brown College campuses to close, officials believe it will take between 18 and 36 months. Because the college is closing physical locations, students who previously attended are eligible for loan forgiveness.
The new rules under the United States Department of Education went into effect recently. These rules were established as a means of strengthening the agency’s oversight of specific training programs for various careers.
In order to qualify to receive federal aid, most for-profit programs, including certificate programs provided at public and private nonprofit educational institutions, must get students ready for gainful employment within an occupation that is recognized.
Understanding the New Rules
However, with the new rules, a program is considered to lead to gainful employment if the estimated amount of loan payment of a conventional graduate does not go over 20 percent of that person’s discretionary income or 8 percent of total earnings. Discretionary income is the amount of money left over once necessities, including food and housing, have been paid.
If a program exceeds the levels for discretionary income, there is a risk of no longer being allowed to participate in federal student aid programs that are taxpayer funded. These new regulations were designed so programs that provide reasonably priced training that lead to good-paying jobs could be distinguished from programs whereby students are left with less-than-desirable earning potential coupled with high levels of debt.
According to data provided by the Department of Education, approximately 1,400 programs that serve around 840,000 students would not pass the new standards for accountability. 99 percent of those students attend for-profit educational institutions.
The list of campuses for Sanford-Brown College that will eventually shut down include the following:
- Florida: Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa
- Georgia: Atlanta
- Illinois: Chicago
- Minnesota: Brooklyn Center and Mendota Heights
- Nevada: Henderson
- New Jersey: Iselin
- New York: Garden City, Melville, and New York City
- Texas: Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio
- Virginia: McLean
- Washington: Seattle
Although students can continue their education with Sanford-Brown College through one of the two online resources, shutting down campuses will have a huge impact on hundreds of thousands of people. Many people look forward to attending a more conventional school setting. While there are other options available, Sanford-Brown has an excellent reputation and has been responsible for helping many people earn a degree and go on to a productive life in the workplace.
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