The Obama administration is facing a torrent of criticism over its new “gainful employment” rule, a sweeping regulation designed to crack down on for-profit colleges, while protecting taxpayer money from being wasted.

The for-profit sector, along with Republicans and some Democrats on Capitol Hill, have slammed the new proposal, arguing it will eliminate higher-education opportunities for many Americans at a time when well-trained workers are needed more than ever.

The Education Department unveiled the new rule Friday. It addresses the most common criticism of for-profit schools — that they run lackluster programs and leave students with worthless degrees while profiting off of taxpayer dollars. …

“I am deeply disappointed by the department’s suggested approach, which will disproportionately harm nontraditional and lower-income students who have no choice but to rely on student loans in order to pursue a postsecondary education, and need the flexibility career colleges provide,” said Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Florida Democrat.