Pulse March / April 2016 | Page 33

How ISPA Members Can Help: Educate and Advocate ISPA members can make a difference and help Congress to rethink this regulation. The first step is to become informed about the regulations and engage with members of Congress to ensure they have an accurate understanding of what is at risk from an economic and employment perspective. As background, it is helpful to understand the different types of higher education in America. Harvard University opened in 1636 as an institute of higher education to train future ministers. As the young nation grew, more universities opened offering an array of educational programs. The federal government gifted land to states, establishing a system of “land grant” universities like San Diego State and Colorado State. These public universities continue to be funded by state and federal government coffers, with just 21 percent of their operating budgets derived from tuition revenues. Trade schools are frequently referred to as “private for-profit” schools and were created to provide education for indemand careers across a breadth of vocations, including beauty and wellness. In contrast to state-funded universities, tuition at private for-profit schools covers 91 percent of operating costs. Private school owners invest their own resources in the infrastructure and curriculum necessary tools to educate students. Gainful Employment and Access to Federal Funds The regulation titled “Gainful Employment” applies only to private forprofit institutions offering career education and certificate programs at community colleges. Under this regulation, students’ access to federal funds is determined based on their projected earnings the first year following their educational program’s completion. Such a short-sighted approach will not only fail to address the nation’s student debt concerns, but will create a shortage of professionals who can deliver indemand services. The Great Recession proved that in good times and bad, Americans seek out services performed by beauty and wellness professionals. “These service-related occupations are performed by licensed professionals who cannot and will not be replaced by technology or have their jobs outsourced overseas,” says Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU). “ISPA members can make a difference and help Congress rethink [the Gainful Employment] regulation.” The decrease will exacerbate an employment challenge that beauty and wellness professionals are already struggling to address. “The nation currently faces a shortage of licensed professionals required to enable salons and spas to operate at their peak and the demand for properly educated and licensed professionals is growing,” says Jim Cox, executive director of the American Association of Cosmetology Schools. A Window of Opportunity The regulations developed by the DOE have the potential to significantly reduce the number of institutions preparing licensed professionals to meet the industry’s workforce needs and they could be implemented by the end of 2016. However, the good news is that Congress has the authority to repeal or modify the regulations through revisions to the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA). As part of a process called reauthorization, which takes place every five to six years, the House and Senate Education Committees will begin to review the higher education policies and make revisions to the law, which in turn impact the regulations. As part of this reauthorization process, AACS is calling upon Congress and the Education Committees to protect what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests is a growing component of the U.S. economy. Over a 10-year period, job demand is projected to grow 38 percent for skin-care specialists, 16 percent for manicurists and pedicurists, 13 percent for hairstylists, and 11 percent for barbers. While school owners will certainly be affected, it is vitally important that policy makers take a broader, holistic view of the impact these changes would inflict on the industry. To facilitate revision to these regulations, AACS is seeking support from the broader beauty and wellness community, and is requesting that professionals, employers and organizations like ISPA join efforts to educate and advocate for changes to the law that will protect the spa and salon sector from unintended consequences. Throughout 2016, AACS will develop short, concise, advocacy campaigns calling upon the professional beauty and wellness community to notify Senators and Representatives of the need to protect the collective interests of the entire community. We are grateful to ISPA and its members for helping preserve the educational pipeline that fills employers’ employment demands. n HOW CAN THE SPA COMMUNITY HELP fight the "Gainful Employment" regulations? Click here to find ways to get involved. March/April 2016 ■ PULSE 31