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Another View: State Legislature gets it right by continuing exemption for select colleges

MTI College, a single-campus postsecondary educational institution in Sacramento, has been successfully training its students and placing them in jobs for nearly 50 years. No one disagrees that MTI’s track record shows exemplary student outcomes, with annual student placement rates consistently exceeding 90 percent. With tuition rates lower than those offered by similar institutions for the same programs, MTI has provided great value for its students, the Sacramento community and the state of California.

Already regulated by the federal Department of Education and subject to oversight by the Western Association of Schools & Colleges, its accrediting body, MTI has been allowed an exemption from the duplicative and burdensome regulations overseen by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. In MTI’s case, it is a well-earned exemption that allows the institution to focus on what it does best: training its students for successful careers.

Recent legislation by Sen. Ted Lieu, Senate Bill 1247, initially required MTI College to give up its exemption from oversight by the bureau, but only if it wanted to continue accepting educational benefits for veterans enrolled in its programs. Founded by a veteran and having successfully provided training to many veterans over the years, MTI would have been forced to choose between retaining its exemption from an additional layer of bureaucracy or continuing to serve its student veterans.

Since this did not make sense, an amendment to the legislation was requested to allow colleges that meet more rigorous standards than the bureau imposes to retain their exemptions, even as they continue to accept veterans using their educational benefits.

As outlined in a Sacramento Bee editorial, “Senator is offended by his own measure” (Sept. 2), the amendment that was added to the legislation contained 13 conditions that do raise the bar by being more difficult to meet than any the bureau would impose. That is why so few other institutions meet the criteria, although, contrary to what was stated in The Bee’s editorial, MTI is not the only California institution that meets the requirements.

As opposed to the conclusion seemingly reached by The Bee’s editorial board, it appears wisdom prevailed in allowing the continued exemption for select institutions. California is often criticized for its over-regulated business environment. This time the members of the Legislature and their staff got it right in allowing the state’s best for-profit colleges to continue serving veterans while continuing to retain their exemption from the unnecessary, burdensome oversight of the bureau.