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Jayapal, DeLauro, Takano Call on ED to Rescind For-Profit OPM Guidance in Light of Second Class Action Lawsuit

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), and House Committee on Veterans Affairs Ranking Member Mark Takano (CA-39) today released the following statement once again calling on the Department of Education to rescind its flawed guidance that allows for-profit online program management (OPM) companies to deceive students for financial gain:

“A class action lawsuit filed against the University of Southern California (USC) for its partnership with for-profit OPM company 2U included troubling new complaints that the program deliberately deceived its students by claiming its online social work program was academically the same as USC’s well-known on-campus program. Instead, students were charged sky-high tuition for an inferior online program outsourced almost entirely to for-profit OPM 2U.

“This is the second class action lawsuit filed against USC and 2U, a partnership that exists thanks to 2011 guidance establishing a loophole to the Higher Education Act’s incentive compensation ban for for-profit OPM recruiters. The flawed guidance allows for-profit OPMs like 2U to partner with colleges to aggressively recruit students into high-cost, low-value degree programs that fail to provide promised jobs. These for-profit OPMs split federal student loan revenue with colleges in exchange for aggressive recruitment services and outsourced educational programming.

“It is past time for the Department to rescind its flawed 2011 guidance to prevent institutions and for-profit companies like 2U from preying on students for financial gain. We expect the Department to take swift action and prioritize the concerns of students and taxpayers over revenue concerns of schools and for-profit companies.”

This statement follows a letter Representatives Jayapal, DeLauro, and Takano recently sent to the Department of Education with this recommendation.