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The U.S. Department of Education on Friday will announce its timeline for releasing a series of final rules governing higher education, including one that could penalize programs for graduating students with hefty debt loads.
The rules will include changes to guidelines on how schools compensate student recruiters; the definition of a credit hour; and, most controversially, an attempt to measure how well programs prepare students for "gainful employment." The department was scheduled to release the 14 new rules by Nov. 1.
Shares of for-profit colleges have swooned in recent months over concerns about how the guidelines may affect those companies. Thursday, however, those stocks rose as news of an upcoming timeline raised hopes the new guidelines may be delayed or less severe than originally feared.
The biggest gainer Thursday was Corinthian Colleges Inc. (COCO), which was expected to be one of the hardest-hit because of its heavy concentration of certificate and associate's degree students. That stock rose 9.5% to $6.76 but remains down more than 50% this year.
Career Education Corp. (CECO), Education Management Corp. (EDMC), and Capella Education Co. (CPLA) all were trading at least 7% higher. Apollo Group Inc. (APOL) was up 3%.
It is unclear whether the department will issue all 14 rules on Nov. 1. It released draft proposals for 13 of the 14 rules in late June, but delayed the release of the proposal to measure gainful employment for more than a month.
Since the department announced the proposals earlier this year, the for-profits have campaigned against the gainful employment measure by arguing that hundreds of thousands of students would lose access to higher education. The campaign has included ads in newspapers and meetings with lawmakers.
-By Melissa Korn, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2271; firstname.lastname@example.org