SENATE FLOOR ALERT
AB 2296 (Block), As Amended
Help Students Make Informed Choices About Postsecondary Training
Under current law, postsecondary schools covered by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education can easily give students misleading information on the state-required School Performance Fact Sheet. Because students are receiving Fact Sheets right now, legislative action is urgently needed. As shown by several organizations lifting their opposition, AB 2296 offers sensible solutions to fix the statutory loopholes and protects students and well-performing schools. It does this by:
- Correcting the currently inaccurate job placement disclosure: Whether a school’s graduates are able to get the type of job for which a school says it prepares students is a critical measure of that school’s performance, particularly for programs that claim to prepare students for recognized occupations. But the current definition of job placement departs from the definition used by the U.S. Department of Education and does not accurately measure whether a student will likely find the kind of job a program advertises. Instead, the current definition allows a school to count as a “graduate employed in the field” a graduate who has obtained virtually any job – whether or not it is the type of job for which the student’s degree was supposed to prepare him or her. AB 2296 corrects this problem by removing the problematic definition and directing the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education to develop a new definition that accurately measures meaningful employment in the occupations for which a program represents that it trains it graduates.
- Fixing the currently misleading salary disclosure: Students weighing whether to assume potentially life-altering debt for school also understandably look at the salaries earned by a program’s graduates. Under current law, however, schools are able to easily skirt the salary disclosure requirements and only report the salaries generally earned in the occupations for which they claim to train students, potentially misleading students into thinking those salaries are actually being earned by their graduates. Under AB 2296, schools will instead disclose to students the salaries of their own graduates.
- Providing students with loan default rate information the state uses to assess schools: According to experts, a high Cohort Default Rate (CDR) reflects that a school did not prepare its students for jobs that would allow them to repay their loans. This is why both the U.S. Department of Education and the CalGrant program use CDRs to measure school quality and determine eligibility. (See 34 CFR section 668 subparts M and N; Cal. Educ. Code § 69432.7(l)(3)). Under current law students do not get this information. AB 2296 will make sure that this easily-available information that is used by the government to assess performance is also available to students.
- Making sure students know if a school is unaccredited and the limitations of that status: AB 2296 ensures that students are informed if their school or program is not accredited and of the limitations of going to an unaccredited school or program. Without such information, a student may sign up for a program at an unaccredited institution completely unaware that he will not be able to sit for certain licensing exams, eligible for certain jobs with the State of California, or receive federal financial aid.
AB 2296 Supporters
The Advancement Project
The Asian Law Caucus
California Civil Rights Coalition
California Faculty Association
California Federation of Teachers
California Labor Federation
California Nurses Association
California Physical Therapy Association
California Psychological Association
California State Commanders Veterans Council
California State Student Association
Center for Public Interest Law, University of San Diego School of Law
Children's Advocacy Institute, University of San Diego School of Law
Chinese for Affirmative Action
Consumer Federation of California
Consumers Union of United States, Inc.
The Institute for College Access and Success
LAW Project of Los Angeles
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
Public Advocates Inc.
Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of California
Vietnam Veterans of America-California State Council
For more information, please contact:
Elisabeth Voigt, Senior Staff Attorney, Public Advocates Inc.