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S. 867 (116th): PROTECT Students Act of 2019

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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 Mar 26, 2019.

Preventing Risky Operations from Threatening the Education and Career Trajectories of Students Act of 2019 or the PROTECT Students Act of 2019

This bill provides additional oversight of postsecondary education programs, including for-profit institutions of higher education (IHEs), and addresses protections for students and student loan borrowers from fraudulent or predatory practices.

The bill sets forth a variety of provisions concerning oversight of for-profit IHEs. Specifically, the bill decreases the cap on the amount of revenue for-profit IHEs may receive from federal sources, including funds from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. In addition, it establishes (1) a process for reviewing for-profit IHEs that convert to nonprofit or public status, and (2) a For-Profit Education Oversight Coordination Committee.

The bill also sets forth provisions to address predatory practices in higher education. For instance, the bill requires career education programs to prepare students for gainful employment. In addition, it requires the Office of Federal Student Aid to have a unit that enforces compliance with laws governing student financial assistance programs. The office must also maintain a system that tracks reports of suspicious activity of IHEs or student loan servicers, including anonymous complaints. Lastly, the bill allows borrowers of student loans to seek loan forgiveness if IHEs mislead the students or engage in other misconduct.

Finally, the bill prohibits IHEs that receive federal funding from limiting students' legal actions, providing incentive compensation, and using educational assistance funds for recruiting and marketing activities.