The U.S. Department of Education needs to get tougher on enforcing a ban on incentives for college and vocational school recruiters to discourage deceptive practices, the Government Accountability Office said in a report.

Recruiters at some schools — in particular, for-profit schools that train students for blue- and pink-collar jobs such as HVAC installer and medical assistant — have been accused of overly aggressive and deceptive practices.

The Education Department banned most payments to recruiters in 1992 and is seeking to close remaining loopholes when it issues a package of final rules around Nov. 1.

Even as the battle rages over whether to tighten the rules, the GAO urged the Education Department to strengthen auditors’ procedures, change procedures to focus on schools most likely to violate the ban and update its guidance on penalties for violating it.

Under the proposed rules, the federal government would no longer lend to programs if more than 65 percent of former students failed to pay the principal on federal loans and if graduates’ debt was more than 30 percent of discretionary income and 12 percent of total income.

Latest From ...