AMTA Files Lawsuit to Save the 150% Rule for Federal Financial Aid for Massage Therapy Students

EVANSTON, Ill., June 17, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — On behalf of the massage therapy profession, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has taken action and filed a federal lawsuit challenging a new Department of Education (DoEd) rule, which eliminates the longstanding “150% rule” for federal financial aid for students in massage therapy programs and other career school programs. On June 7, the complaintmotion for preliminary injunction, and brief were filed in federal district court in Washington, D.C. AMTA’s challenge to the new rule, scheduled to go into effect on July 1, seeks to delay its implementation in an effort to overturn the new rule completely and reinstate the 150% rule.

Why it is Crucial to Save the 150% Rule
The U.S. DoEd’s new rule will affect students in “clock hour programs,” which are career-focused courses that measure progress based on time spent studying, unlike traditional colleges that use a credit-based system. Each state sets its own requirements for licenses and minimum education hours for career schools, including massage therapy programs. Many massage therapy programs often include extra coursework beyond the minimum hours to help students pass exams and learn the latest techniques.

Previously, the Department of Education allowed certain programs to exceed the minimum hours by up to 150 percent, while still qualifying for federal student aid. Under the new regulations, massage therapy programs and other career school programs would be ineligible for the full array of Title IV federal financial aid, specifically the Pell Grant, if they exceed the state-mandated minimum hours. This could greatly reduce the supply of massage therapy graduates entering the workforce as well as graduates in other critical areas such as nursing, allied health, trucking, cosmetology, and barbering.

You Can Also Take Action to Help Save the 150% Rule!

Rep. Lloyd Smucker (PA-11) recently introduced H.R. 7810, a bill that would protect career school students by amending the U.S. Department of Education’s (DoEd) “clock hour” requirements for certain educational programs, including massage therapy. Rep. Smucker’s legislation H.R. 7810 is supported by fellow House Reps. GT Thompson (PA-15), Dan Meuser (PA-9), Derrick Van Orden (WI-03), and Mike Lawler (NY-17).

Along with our bold action to file a lawsuit to save the 150% rule, AMTA encourages all career schools, educators, students and members of the general public to reach out to your House Member and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 7810. Additionally, for individuals residing in the districts of Reps. Smucker, Thompson, Meuser, Van Orden, and Lawler, please reach out and thank them for their leadership and commitment to career-school students!

About The American Massage Therapy Association
The American Massage Therapy Association, the most trusted name in massage therapy, is the largest non-profit, professional association serving massage therapists, massage students and massage schools. The association is directed by volunteer leadership and fosters ongoing, direct member-involvement through its 51 chapters. AMTA works to advance the profession through ethics and standards, the promotion of fair and consistent licensing of massage therapists in all states, and public education on the benefits of massage. To find a qualified massage therapist in your area, please visit AMTA’s Find a Massage Therapist Locator Service.

Media Contact: [email protected]

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SOURCE American Massage Therapy Association

AMTA Files Lawsuit to Save the 150% Rule for Federal Financial Aid for Massage Therapy Students WeeklyReviewer

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