Gainfully employed? New evidence on the earnings, employment, and debt of for-profit certificate students

Stephanie Riegg Cellini:

As the U.S. Department of Education proposes weakening the Gainful Employment (GE) rules regulating for-profit and vocational education programs, accurate estimates of the earnings outcomes and debt incurred by students in these programs are essential for judging the merits of various policy options.

In a forthcoming paper for the Journal of Human Resources, co-authored with Federal Reserve Board of Governors Senior Economist Nicholas Turner, we generate comprehensive new estimates of labor market outcomes and debt incurred by students in vocational (or career-technical education, “CTE”) certificate programs in the for-profit sector. We compare for-profit students’ outcomes to the outcomes of similar students in similar public sector certificate programs. We further compare the employment and earnings of for-profit students to demographically similar individuals who do not pursue any postsecondary education.