As a high school student in Green Bay, Wisconsin, I had an incredible amount of potential but was completely uninterested in academics, leaving me with few options upon graduating. Top private colleges were out of the question, and I didn’t want to attend another public institution. I saw a flyer for Herzing University, which prompted me to look into the school. I liked what the school had to offer, and after a trip to the campus in Madison, I decided to enroll.
Shortly after I began classes, I found out I was going to be a father. I faced the difficult decision of whether I could both stay in school or leave to help provide for my newborn child. In the end, I didn’t have to choose, Herzing helped me to find a job at a local factory after my classes, and helped me schedule for work and school. When my son’s mother’s substance abuse problems left me as a single father, I had to take on another part-time job to make ends meet. Even then, Herzing helped me design a course program that allowed me to work both jobs, attend school and spend time with my infant son. The administration frequently checked in with me to see how I was doing, and my instructors helped me in any way they could.
With the help of Herzing, I earned an Associate Degree in Electronics and found a position repairing electronic modules that controlled injection and blow molding plastic making machines. I knew Herzing had equipped me with the skills I needed to succeed, and before I knew it I was quickly doubling the daily quotas of my co-workers. After a couple of years, I was ready for a new challenge, so I began attending Herzing at nights to work toward my Bachelors Degree.
Despite the economic downturn making it difficult to find a job, my Herzing education allowed me to not only gain an IT position with a local health insurance company, but also make a six-figure salary! I am currently employed performing document management for the United States Air Force. My son is now 13 years old, and we live in Virginia, but still own a home in Madison. I am proud of the example that Herzing helped me set for my son; that anyone can get what they want if they work hard, have solid support and never quit. I owe everything I’ve achieved to the education that I received from Herzing. I would not be where I am at today if it was not for Herzing, and if the school ever adds a doctorate program, there is nowhere else I would consider attending.
However, there is something that may stand in the way of other unlikely success stories like mine. The Department of Education in Washington, D.C. is trying to enact a new rule that would cut Federal funding from schools whose students fail to meet an arbitrary student loan repayment metric. This ruling would have a severe impact on career schools and universities like Herzing, forcing many potential students who would have selected these Schools to forgo further education, and take jobs with lower pay and less chance for advancement.
The Education Department is marketing this proposed and misnamed “gainful employment” rule as a way to reduce student debt, but they are going about fixing the problem in the wrong way with a one-size-fits-all approach that hurts real people, like me. When it comes to education, options are never a bad thing; limiting students’ choices, especially in a tough economy, is beyond irresponsible. The Federal government’s “gainful employment” rule will crush dreams and opportunities and needs to be stopped by the U.S. Congress.