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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on May 2, 2017.
Students Before Profits Act of 2017
This bill amends title IV (Student Assistance) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require the Department of Education (ED) to recalculate the cohort default rate and redetermine title IV eligibility for an institution of higher education (IHE) that engages in default manipulation.
ED may impose enhanced civil penalties and sanctions on IHEs and officers for substantial misrepresentation or other serious violations of title IV requirements. The bill requires ED to establish the Student Relief Fund, financed by civil penalties, to provide financial relief to students enrolled in an IHE that is sanctioned or fails to comply with title IV requirements.
If ED takes an enforcement action (e.g., heightened financial oversight) against a proprietary (i.e., for-profit) IHE, then ED may hold the executive officer of such proprietary IHE personally liable for financial losses related to the enforcement action. Additionally, ED may pursue claims against an IHE's executive officers and board of directors to recover discharged federal student loans.
A proprietary IHE must, as a condition of continued eligibility to participate in title IV programs, prohibit an individual who defrauds students from being a member of the board of directors or an executive officer of the institution.