Big student debt could limit schools’ aid access

But student advocates protest that the final version of the Department of Education’s “gainful employment” rule, released Thursday, is way too soft. Meanwhile, schools and industry lobbyists rail that the DOE has no legal standing to even impose the rule at all.

Only investors appeared happy with the outcome Thursday. Shares of for-profit school companies soared as investors viewed the scope of the DOE’s new regulations as having a much less dire impact on the sector than they had feared. Analysts say the rule is more lenient than they and most shareholders had expected — “meaningfully watered down,” said R.W. Baird’s Amy Junker.

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