After my mother-in-law lost her battle with pancreatic cancer, I started volunteering for hospice and realized that my true calling in life was to help hospice patients and their families. But with no nursing degree, my ability to do so was severely limited.
I already had a bachelor’s degree and had been an executive assistant for 25 years, but I needed to go back to get a degree, a daunting idea for someone who had been in the workforce for so long. Fortunately, I was able to get my LPN degree and will be pursuing my RN degree at Herzing University early next year.
Like many career colleges, Herzing not only provides training for specialized professions like nursing but also accommodates the busy schedules of adult learners who are often balancing family life with education.
But my ability to complete my degree program may be hurt by an effort that is underway at the Department of Education that would limit Federal funding for schools whose students have an unduly high ratio of debt to post-graduation income.
The proposal is called “Gainful Employment” and would adversely impact students attending career colleges and universities since many of them (myself included) are more likely to take on student loan debt on their path to graduation.
By disproportionately impacting career colleges, this “Gainful Employment” proposal would result in the elimination of financial aid for as many as 360,000 students, including hundreds of thousands of women, full-time workers, single parents, returning veterans and the disabled.
Students at career colleges have a 38% higher completion rate than their counterparts at community colleges and account for a disproportionate percentage of graduates in health care, computer-data processing and other fields that are expected to add 1.8 million new American jobs through 2016.
I hope the federal government rethinks this proposal and focuses on giving students the ability to get a diploma instead of making it harder for them to do so. With more adults either rethinking their careers later in life, this proposal promises to do more harm than good.
Lane H. Brown earned her LPN diploma and is currently working in the nursing field. She will begin work on her RN degree from Herzing University in January.