Washington -- While I wish the best for the Obama Administration's "Gainful Employment" regulations, this effort should not be the only Department of Education attempt to crack down on schools (for-profit or otherwise) that are abusive of their students and of taxpayers. The abuse is well documented.
The Secretary of Education has powers under current law and regulation that are tailor-made to curtail the abuses. They are called the Limitation, Suspension, and Termination (LS&T) powers. An excerpt appears below.
Recently over dinner in Washington I asked a long-time, high-level employee of the department how long it had been since these powers were discussed at the Secretarial level as a remedy for abuse. "About twenty-four years" was the answer. It's not quite that long, but clearly it's not recent. The Secretary may not know he has them.
Title 34: Education
PART 668—STUDENT ASSISTANCE GENERAL PROVISIONS
Subpart G—Fine, Limitation, Suspension and Termination Proceedings
A limitation may include, as appropriate to the Title IV, HEA program in question—
(a) A limit on the number or percentage of students enrolled in an institution who may receive Title IV, HEA program funds;
(b) A limit, for a stated period of time, on the percentage of an institution's total receipts from tuition and fees derived from Title IV, HEA program funds;
(i) Other conditions as may be determined by the Secretary to be reasonable and appropriate.
(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1094)