December 27, 2013
Editorial – Simple rule change could help eliminate financial-aid fraud
Earlier this month, a grand jury charged the Carnegie Career College founders with conspiring to steal $2.3 million in federal student aid. The founders and a third defendant have denied the charges and are waiting their day in court. According to the indictment reported in The Repository on Dec. 13, Carnegie recruited students who didn’t have a high school diploma or GED by claiming those students could receive credentials while attending the college and receiving student aid. The school allegedly obtained fake diplomas from “online high schools.” The fake diplomas allowed the owners to obtain more than $2 million dollars in student aid that federal authorities claim they spent on vacations, vehicles and property for themselves….
October 13, 2013
Editorial – State action against for-profit colleges
More than a year after the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions produced a shocking report on the manipulative and wasteful practices of the nation’s for-profit colleges, Congress has yet to take any meaningful action on the issue. And despite the bad press it received after the Senate’s investigation, for-profit colleges continue to use abhorrent recruiting practices to get students to enroll in worthless degree programs. Thankfully, a group of students has decided to take action….
September 16, 2013
Editorial – Who does John Kline represent?
Recent events in the House of Representatives have revealed just how far politicians are willing to go for campaign contributions. Last month, USA Today reported that House Education Committee Chairman Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., who has received generous campaign contributions from for-profit colleges, is pushing legislation that would protect the industry from losing federal aid, which accounts for much of their revenue. Kline and two others introduced the bill, titled “Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act,” on July 10. It would prohibit the Obama administration from restricting federal student aid from schools whose students graduate with lots of debt and have low repayment rates. The for-profit…
September 9, 2013
Editorial – The Cost of Training Doctors Offshore
U.S. tax dollars are financing for-profit medical schools in the Caribbean that are not accredited in the U.S., Janet Lorin reports in the October issue of Bloomberg Markets magazine, putting taxpayers, students and patients at risk. The U.S. may face a doctor shortage, but this isn’t the way to fix it. Thanks to a legal loophole, three schools — American University of the Caribbean in St. Maarten and Ross University in Dominica, both owned by DeVry Inc. (DV), and….
The Bellingham Herald
July 29, 2013
More oversight for poor performing for-profits
Instead, some members of Congress – who perhaps only coincidentally also get hefty donations from for-profit colleges – are actively fighting efforts to improve oversight and accountability. They want to keep it easy for these schools to continue raking in the big bucks – more than $30 billion in taxpayer dollars every year – while turning out so few job-ready graduates. Alarmed by reports that for-profit schools educate only 10 percent of college students yet account for almost half of student loan defaults, the Obama administration has tried to implement rules that would cut federal aid to low-performing schools, be they for-profit or not.
Kansas City Star
July 18, 2013
Editorial – Risky for-profit colleges need better oversight
Jennifer Kerr took a mighty leap of faith when she sued a for-profit college for misrepresenting what kind of degree she’d be earning and its value to her future. Tucked into her contract with Vatterott Educational Centers Inc. was a provision that, should she sue and lose, Kerr would be responsible for Vatterott’s legal costs. The Kansas City-area woman’s gamble paid off last month when a Jackson County jury ordered the corporation to pay her $27,676 in actual damages — about the amount of money she took out in student loans — and a stunning $13 million in punitive damages. The verdict is outside the limits set by Missouri law and will be lowered, but it is a validation of Kerr’s case and a shining example of the justice system coming through for an underdog.
Tampa Bay Times
June 20, 2013
Editorial: Rein in loan excesses at for-profit schools
If at first government doesn’t succeed at reining in exploitative for-profit colleges, it must try again. Renewed efforts by the Obama administration to crack down on exploitative for-profit programs are good for unsuspecting students and taxpayers. To ensure the health of the federal financial aid system for future generations, the government must find a way to prevent bad actors from getting a share. The for-profit sector is a fast-growing subset of higher education, where steep tuitions can be heavily subsidized through federal student aid programs but default rates are far higher than at nonprofit private or public institutions. Not all for-profit colleges are suspect. But a 2012 U.S. Senate investigation found that many deployed aggressive recruitment tactics, preying on the poor and ill-prepared who rely on federal student aid to attend. Some compare the situation to the subprime mortgage crisis that saw unprepared buyers take out loans they couldn’t afford.
The Columbia Chronicle
Editorial — For-profits, against students
The Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act, introduced to the U.S. Senate on March 12, would ban colleges from using federal aid money for marketing and recruitment. The proposed legislation, co-sponsored by Sens. Kay Hagan (D–N.C.) and Tom Harkin (D–Iowa), targets for-profit colleges, many of which engage in aggressive marketing strategies using large amounts of taxpayer money. Some problematic for-profit colleges put profits above student success, and aggressive and deceptive recruitment is a big part of the problem….
Editorial — No shortcuts to good education
A report out this week from the Legislative Analyst’s Office offers encouraging news about new rules for the state’s Cal Grant program. The new rules have disqualified 80 percent of the state’s for-profit colleges – 154 in all – from the financial aid program. And what are the egregious rules that have pushed these schools away from the public trough? Schools now must show a graduation rate of at least 30 percent and a loan default rate of less than 15.5 percent to participate in the Cal Grant program. The rule change will save the state an estimated $50 million this year….
Charleston Daily Mail
Editorial — On Veterans Day 2012, look out for new vets
The post World War II GI Bill transformed the lives of millions of veterans and their families. By 1956, about 2.2 million World War II veterans had used the education benefits to attend colleges or universities. Another 6.6 million veterans used the benefit to attend some kind of training program. The post-9/11 bill for veterans is generous as well. It pays college tuition directly to the school, gives the veteran a monthly living allowance, and provides $1,000 a year for books for those who served 36 consecutive months or more. Benefits are pro-rated for shorter service….
New York Times
Editorial — Misleading Advice for Student Borrowers
Federal student loan default rates are rising ever higher, with the worst rates among those who attended for-profit colleges. For-profit schools account for about 13 percent of higher education enrollment but nearly half of all defaults. New data from the Department of Education show that 22.7 percent of students from for-profit schools who began repayment in 2009 defaulted within three years. That’s twice the three-year default rate of public colleges and three times the rate at private, nonprofit institutions….
Editorial — Default judgment
Many more college students, in Ohio and across the country, are taking out loans — often for tens of thousands of dollars — to help finance their education. As the economy and job market remain slow to recover, more of these borrowers are falling far behind on paying back their loans, including those made or guaranteed by the federal government….
Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI)
Editorial — Everest’s failing grade leaves its students behind
Everest College failed its students in Milwaukee. There’s no other way to put it. We’re glad that the chain vocational school has agreed to pay off loans incurred by the dropouts at its downtown campus, but those students still wasted their time chasing a dream that apparently didn’t exist. The Journal Sentinel’s Daniel Bice reported that half of the 1,585 students who enrolled at the school since October 2010 have dropped out, and the school’s own records indicate that it only placed 95 students in jobs by the end of July….
Editorial — For-profit colleges need closer scrutiny
Across America, recent higher-ed graduates and dropouts are feeling burned because the educations they counted on to bring them prosperity have instead yielded deep debts but few job offers. The picture is particularly bleak for students at for-profit colleges Ñ a sector that, in an alternate universe, could be leading the innovation in higher education. For-profit schools often seek to provide vocational skills rather than traditional academic training and could, in theory, move more quickly to respond to changes in what employers are demanding. The industry argues that it gives working parents, returning service members, and other nontraditional students more freedom to earn degrees….
Editorial — Student loans need even more reforms
Former president Bill Clinton used part of his speech at the Democratic National Convention to tout President Obama’s executive order tying the student loan repayment plans of several million students to their ability to pay. The plan caps monthly payments at 10 percent of the debtor’s discretionary income, down from the 15 percent cap imposed by Congress last year. Students who are diligent about making payments for 20 years will have any remaining balance forgiven….
The Gainesville Sun
Editorial — For-profit excesses
Escalating costs of attending state universities, and funding state and community colleges, is putting pressure on higher-education students and administrators in Florida. There are alternatives, including private, for-profit colleges, but beware. While many for-profit institutions, particularly those that offer online degrees, market themselves as offering complication-free enrollment and flexible scheduling, relatively few degrees are issued. Such education comes at a high price.
Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne)
Editorial — Proceed with care
A for-profit college’s local recruiting event is billed as an information session for unemployed veterans, with an opportunity to meet Democratic Mayor Tom Henry and Republican Congressman Marlin Stutzman. But veterans groups are issuing warnings that GI Bill benefits have become an attractive target for for-profit colleges and that veterans should be wary. A spokesman for the mayor now says Henry won’t attend, but Stutzman’s office confirmed he would participate. The congressman should be careful before signing on to any particular recruiting effort, especially if a for-profit college is involved.
Lawrence Journal World (KS)
Editorial — Education need
The Kansas Board of Regents is right to be concerned about the increasing number of students who are choosing to attend for-profit colleges instead of state-supervised universities, community colleges and vocational-technical schools. There is no reason the Kansas higher education system can’t provide what a large proportion of those students are looking for Ñ and at a lower cost.
Editorial — Beware of for-profit colleges
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Dismally, a new congressional report says many for-profit colleges use high-pressure recruiting to enroll marginal students, saddle them with large federal loans, and cast them adrift with no degrees — while school executives and stockholders pocket fat profits. The commercial colleges mostly live off U.S. taxpayers, taking more than $30 billion a year in student loan money. Their students fail to repay the loans at a sickening rate.
Editorial — For-profit college report card is unsettling
Appearing in the last sputtering days of the congressional session, the story was more or less overlooked — except by “Doonesbury” — but it was ringing language from a Senate committee chairman. “In this report,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, “you will find overwhelming documentation of exorbitant tuition, aggressive recruiting practices, abysmal student outcomes, taxpayer dollars spent on marketing and pocketed as profit, and regulatory evasion and manipulation.”
The Ledger (FL)
Editorial — For-Profit Colleges: Costly For-Profit Failures
Escalating costs of attending state universities, and funding state and community colleges, is putting pressure on higher-education students and administrators in Florida. There are alternatives, including private, for-profit colleges, but beware. While many for-profit institutions, particularly those that offer online degrees, market themselves as offering complication-free enrollment and flexible scheduling, relatively few degrees are issued. Such education comes at a high price. A scathing report issued by a U.S. Senate committee in late July concludes that for-profit colleges are failing their students and sticking taxpayers with the tab for most of those uncompleted educations.
The Spokesman Review (Spokane)
Editorial — For-profit colleges are wasting public funds
With federal deficits widening and revenue prospects bleak, Congress needs to become a better bargain hunter. Nowhere is this more evident than with federal subsidies for higher education. Hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake, so taxpayers have a right to expect colleges and universities to produce students with diplomas in exchange for federal aid. Traditional schools are struggling to keep up their end of that bargain, but it’s at the for-profit colleges that scandalous amounts of waste are taking place. Enrollment at for-profit colleges, such as the University of Phoenix, Kaplan and ITT Technical Institute, has exploded in the past 15 years, as more people are drawn to the flexibility of online learning. From 1998 to 2008, enrollment tripled at these schools, which are mostly owned by publicly traded companies.
Editorial — For-profit college industry needs reform, monitoring
After two years of review, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s thorough investigation of the for-profit college industry clearly indicates now is the time for reform. In a four-volume final report released July 30 that covered thousands of pages, the HELP Committee examined industry practices, corporate finances and student outcomes. In the process, the review showed that billions of taxpayer dollars are feeding an industry filled with a toxic confab of misleading sales tactics, unmanageable student debt loads, low completion rates and rising evidence of fraud. Obviously, there are issues with cost and quality in almost all areas of higher education, too, but for the for-profit industry is in a class by itself, according to Lauren Asher, president of The Institute for College Access and Success. “The industry has the highest dependence on federal funding ($32 billion a year), the highest share of students with debt, the highest debt loads for degrees, and by far the highest student loan default rates of any sector,” Asher said in a news release. “These differences remain stark even after considering student demographics. The industry has the highest dependence on federal funding ($32 billion a year), the highest student loan default rates of any sector.”
Editorial — For-profit debt studies
For-profit colleges like to promise a lot when it comes to future jobs for students, but a new federal report reveals that for too many desperate adults seeking a way to be educated and work at the same time, for-profit teaching leads to a huge student loan debt and poor job prospects. We urge adults seeking higher education opportunities to look toward traditional options which are cheaper. Remember that student loans will one day need to be paid. If you can’t afford the tuition, don’t go there.
Standard Examiner (Ogden UT)
Editorial — For-profit debt studies
For-profit colleges like to promise a lot when it comes to future jobs for students, but a new federal report reveals that for too many desperate adults seeking a way to be educated and work at the same time, for-profit teaching leads to a huge student loan debt and poor job prospects. We urge adults seeking higher education opportunities to look toward traditional options which are cheaper. Remember that student loans will one day need to be paid. If you can’t afford the tuition, don’t go there….
Editorial — Akst: Higher education system needs some schooling
Thanks to a ferocious report from a Senate committee, we now know that the for-profit college industry is a business rife with abuses. Little is spent on instruction, and the most vulnerable people are encouraged to apply by “recruiters” who often use boiler-room sales tactics. Most students drop out, only to find themselves burdened with student debt yet lacking a degree to help them pay for it. When the report came out, the committee’s Republican minority complained that the panel should have probed traditional nonprofit colleges as well….
The News Tribune (Tacoma)
Editorial — Too many for-profit colleges fail to deliver for students
A new Senate education committee report on the nation’s for-profit colleges paints a disturbing picture of billions in taxpayer dollars being spent on student aid, with precious little to show for it. Tuition at these colleges tends to be pricey, with associate degrees costing at least four times as much as comparable community college programs. Yet many of the credits students earn are not transferable to other institutions and often don’t qualify them for the professional licensing they need ? despite what the TV commercials claim. More than a quarter of federal student aid now goes to for-profit schools ? and that doesn’t even include military GI Bill benefits. These schools are aggressively pitching their sales messages to veterans ? sometimes even as they are recuperating from war injuries. Only after the vets have spent their benefits do they discover that they have little to show for it.
The Patriot-News (PA)
Editorial — Failing grade: Congress must reform for-profit college system
Get an education. That is the advice we give to anyone struggling to earn a decent living in our country. And that is just what many people, including the poor, laid-off workers and abuse victims have tried to do by signing up to attend for-profit colleges. But it turns out that many of those students are not getting a degree, and the colleges they enrolled in seem to be more interested in making money than helping them graduate.
The Palm Beach Post
Editorial — Protect students from being duped by for-profit colleges
For a sense of how much for-profit colleges are growing, look at Keiser University. In 2001, the Fort Lauderdale-based school had fewer than than 4,000 students. By 2010, it had more than 18,000, both online and spread across 14 Florida campuses, including a large one in West Palm Beach. With that growth have come big concerns about the intersection of education and profit. Keiser, a for-profit university until it converted to non-profit status last year, formed part of the rapidly growing for-profit education industry, which has raked in billions of dollars from the rising demand for higher education. Enabling that demand has been the availability of federal student loans and grants. Like many other for-profits, Keiser has drawn scrutiny for how it makes its money. In 2010, the Florida Attorney General targeted the university as part of a statewide investigation into potential “misrepresentations regarding financial aid” and “deceptive practices regarding recruitment, enrollment, (and) placement” at for-profit universities. The investigation continues.
Editorial — Less Profit, More College
For-profit colleges contend that a scathing report on their operations by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions unfairly focuses on the for-profit sector. The argument might fly if the two-year committee investigation, led by Sen. Tom Harkin, had not produced abundant data and internal information from many of the companies themselves to support the conclusions….
The Sun (IA)
Editorial — The rising concern over debt and for-profit colleges
We join our U.S. senator in his fight to help kids go to college – and not leave with mountains of debt. Sen. Tom Harkin has been a champion – sometimes the only one – expressing concern about student loans and for-profit schools. To be clear: We’re all for competition among institutions of higher education, and don’t view for-profit colleges as bad deals. They have a place alongside places like our own nonprofit Cornell College. The trouble, though, is what Harkin lays out in an investigation into the issue….
The Free Press (Mankato, MN)
Editorial — We deserve better from for-profit colleges
A recent congressional report on for-profit colleges was a stinging indictment of a racket in which some colleges are less interested in providing a good education and guiding students than they are in grabbing all the federal money they can. The report, issued by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, found that taxpayers are spending $32 billion a year in grants and loans to students attending the for-profit colleges and getting too little in return….
Times Call (CO)
Editorial — For-profit schools get a bad grade
Last week, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions — chaired by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa — released a report that damned just about every aspect of for-profit U.S. colleges. Republicans on the committed criticized the report, as did Steve Gunderson, president of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, who said the report “twists the facts to fit a narrative, proving that this is nothing more than continued political attacks on private sector colleges and universities.” Sounds like business as usual in America. The report did acknowledge that for-profit colleges fill an unmet need and offer accessible campuses, online learning and a flexible approach to learning.
Tampa Bay Times
Editorial — For-profit colleges: raw deal for taxpayers
The for-profit college industry would barely exist without federal tuition aid, but a new report by U.S. Senate Democrats says that taxpayers are getting a raw deal. The real beneficiaries of the for-profit college sector are not students seeking to brighten their futures with more education. They are the executives and shareholders who have built a “profits over academic progress” model. The study released by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is the culmination of a two-year investigation into the unsavory practices of for-profit colleges. This industry receives more than $30 billion a year in taxpayer funds.
The Reporter (PA)
Editorial — Education and profit motive don’t mix well
The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions issued a report last week with a revealing title: “For-Profit Higher Education: The Failure to Safeguard the Federal Investment and Ensure Student Success.” I doubt if many people will read the entire 1,100-page document, but the 14-page executive summary will tell you just about all you need to know: Every year, hundreds of thousands of students emerge from the for-profit sector of higher education with, as the summary puts it, “debt but no degree.”
Merced Sun Star
Editorial — Our View: For-profit college risk clear in report
California still has lax licensing and review of for-profit colleges to ensure that students get real training, not just a large debt. But the governor and Legislature have done something important to ensure that state financial aid dollars don’t go to for-profit colleges that depend heavily on federal student borrowing. For 2012-13, California’s Cal Grant program awards will not be provided for attendance at schools with low graduation or completion rates and whose students have a poor track record of paying off federal loans. California’s stiffer rules are vindicated by a scathing report from the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, after a two-year investigation of the for-profit college industry. The dependence of for-profits on federal funding is huge, according to the Senate committee report, accounting for $32 billion of $130 billion (25 percent) in federal student loans and grants — though the for-profits have only 10 percent of total college student enrollment.
The Roanoke Times
Editorial — The high cost of for-profit education
Even their harshest critics acknowledge that the country needs for-profit colleges to fill a gap between the growing demand for post-secondary education and existing capacity at public and nonprofit colleges and universities. The staunchest supporters of for-profit institutions ought to acknowledge, but do not, that many of the biggest providers are wildly successful at raking in profits, but not at educating students. And that’s a problem. That failure is costing taxpayers billions of dollars, while leaving most students without a degree.
Editorial — For-profit colleges must stop ripping off students, taxpayers
Operators of for-profit colleges hit the jackpot: They’re reeling in millions of adults seeking training in fields such as nursing or information technology, who see the schools as their last, best chance to snag a decent job. But the reality is the schools grow rich on billions in federal dollars while students graduate with enormous debt and no job prospects. A U.S. Senate committee headed by Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) recently laid out the facts of the for-profit college world after a two-year investigation that is thorough Ñ and damning. Most of the annual $32 billion in federal funds the schools rake in goes toward marketing and recruitment Ñ not the classroom. Many of the courses lack rigor and support services for students are meager. They cost, on average, about four times as much as similar courses at public universities and community colleges. Average annual salary of the executives leading the 30 companies reviewed in the report: $7.3 million.
The Modesto Bee
Editorial — For-profit college risk clear in report
California still has lax licensing and review of for-profit colleges to ensure that students get real training, not just a large debt. But the governor and Legislature have done something important to ensure that state financial aid dollars don’t go to for-profit colleges that depend heavily on federal student borrowing. For 2012-13, California’s Cal Grant program awards will not be provided for attendance at schools with low graduation or completion rates and whose students have a poor track record of paying off federal loans. California’s stiffer rules are vindicated by a scathing report from the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, after a two-year investigation of the for-profit college industry. The dependence of for-profits on federal funding is huge, according to the Senate committee report, accounting for $32 billion of $130 billion (25 percent) in federal student loans and grants Ñ though the for-profits have only 10 percent of total college student enrollment.
Editorial — Failed schools: Congress must fix the for-profit college industry
The Senate education committee’s scorching report on the for-profit college industry came as no surprise. Although much of the problem had been described at public hearings and in preliminary releases, the findings issued Monday still paint a disturbing picture of taxpayer-dependent, profit-driven schools that promise too much, deliver too little and leave students — many of them without degrees — too deep in debt. Sen. Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and who led the two-year inquiry, concluded, “These practices are not the exception — they are the norm. They are systemic throughout the industry, with very few individual exceptions.”
New York Times
Editorial — Closer Scrutiny of For-Profit Schools
The last several weeks have not been particularly restful for the lucrative for-profit education industry. A federal judge upheld the Department of Education’s right to regulate unscrupulous for-profit schools that leave students with big debts and valueless credentials. A Senate committee released a blistering report showing that many of these schools pocket huge profits, even though most students leave without degrees. A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that people who started in programs awarding an associate degree Ñ a big slice of the student population Ñ reaped significant economic rewards with degrees from public and nonprofit institutions. Those with degrees or certificates from for-profits did not.
Editorial — Rein in abuses by for-profit colleges
Wounded veterans. Victims of abuse. The recently incarcerated. The grieving. The poor. The self-doubting. These are just the kinds of people who might benefit most from more education. Unfortunately, they’re also the people aggressively targeted by for-profit colleges concerned more with making a quick buck than developing human potential. In the push to get more Americans into college, many people had high hopes for profit-making schools, which often focus more intensively on job skills and specialize in the non-traditional students who have come to predominate among America’s undergraduates.
Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT)
Editorial — For-Profit Colleges Get An “F”
Imagine an industry that receives 86 percent of its revenues from the federal government Ñ $32 billion in a single year Ñ but more often than not fails to turn out a successful product. Imagine that this same industry pays its executives an average of $7.3 million a year, while leaving its consumers and taxpayers poorer. That, according to a U.S. Senate committee report, describes the for-profit college business. As the prime driver of the burgeoning student debt, this industry is overdue for reform. Unfortunately, it is also adept at persuading members of Congress to fall for its spin, or at least look the other way….
San Francisco Chronicle
Editorial — Flaws in aid to for-profit colleges
A scathing new U.S. Senate report should compel Congress to significantly elevate the requirements for for-profit colleges to tap federal funds. The two-year investigation showed the extent to which this growing segment of higher education has relied on government assistance – and the dismal return on investment for students who attend these schools. Students at for-profit colleges represent 13 percent of the nation’s college enrollment and 47 percent of its loan defaults. Taxpayers provided $32 billion to for-profit colleges in 2009-10, accounting for about 80 percent of those schools’ revenue, the Senate researchers found.
The Sacramento Bee
Editorial — Senate report details risks of for-profit colleges
California still has lax licensing and review of for-profit colleges to ensure that students get real training, and not just a large debt. But the governor and Legislature have done something important to ensure that state financial aid dollars don’t go to for-profits that depend heavily on federal student borrowing. California’s Cal Grant awards for the 2012-13 school year ? the largest source of state aid to college students ? were announced Tuesday….
Editorial — How for-profit colleges are ripping off students and taxpayers
A U.S. Senate report exposing egregious operations of for-profit colleges should shock and outrage all who have felt defrauded by what amounts to higher education scams. And for those considering the University of Phoenix, Kaplan and other for-profit colleges, be warned. A report out earlier this week shows how they are ripping off students and taxpayers even more than anyone could have imagined. The problem, of course, is that members of Congress have been slow to crack down on their brazen practices or rein in federal support for these businesses. The schools, which rely on federal financial-aid money for as much as 90 percent of their revenue, received $32 billion in tuition aid in 2009-2010, according to the study, which pointed out that for-profits spent more on marketing than on instruction. Think about that.
The Portland Press Herald (ME)
Editorial — For-profit college aid should be tied to results
These businesses succeed even while their students fail, and taxpayers get the bill. It’s time to rethink the system that funnels federal funds into businesses set up as for-profit colleges and universities. A scathing report presented to a U.S. Senate committee Monday reveals a setup that does more to enrich investors and executives than it does to improve students’s lives — and does it almost entirely on the taxpayers’ dime. According to the study, schools spend an inordinate amount of money on marketing and recruiting, hooking customers up with federal student aid programs including Pell Grants and subsidized Stafford loans.
Editorial — For-profit colleges not good use of taxpayer funds
It’s time to rethink the system that funnels federal funds into businesses set up as for-profit colleges and universities. A scathing report presented to a U.S. Senate committee on Monday reveals a setup that does more to enrich investors and executives than it does to improve students’s lives — and does it almost entirely on the taxpayer’s dime. According to the study, schools spend an inordinate amount of money on marketing and recruiting, hooking customers up with federal student aid programs including Pell Grants and subsidized Stafford loans.
The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne, IN)
Editorial — College scam clampdown
A two-year congressional investigation lays bare the for-profit college industry’s strategy: Recruit vulnerable students to tap into billions in federal financial aid; spend little on instruction and counseling; leave students with crippling debt and little chance of landing a job. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, led by Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin, examined 30 companies and came away with a scathing indictment of an industry that preys on low-income students, veterans and taxpayers.
Chicago Sun Times
Editorial — A lesson in greed in for-profit school industry
Twenty-four years ago, after the Chicago Sun-Times published “Bitter Lessons,” an investigative series on the for-profit school industry, this page called for major reforms. “Some of these schools leave the students without an education, without a job and without a dream,” we wrote. “But they are left with something: an obligation to pay back a student loan, often running into the thousands of dollars.” Nothing has changed since then, except this: It has gotten worse Ñ the crummy education, the enormous student debt, the exploitation.
Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, CA)
Editorial — Caveat emptor: for-profit college risks
Republicans on the committee and trade groups representing private colleges such as the University of Phoenix and DeVry University quickly criticized the report, contending its numbers were skewed to paint for-profits in a bad light. But the numbers are difficult to refute. And the conclusions are similar to the findings of other studies on a segment of secondary education that has ballooned in recent years. According to the report, enrollment in for-profit colleges have more than tripled, to about 2.4 million students, from 1998 to 2008….
Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
Editorial — Call to Action
A Senate Committee has produced a withering review of the fast-growing, for-profit college industry nationwide – one where about half the students fail to get degrees and are left with nothing except thousands of dollars in debt. It is an industry rife with exorbitant tuition, aggressive recruiting and abysmal student outcomes, according to U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat whose Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee conducted the two-year investigation.
Editorial — For-profit college. What a racket.
Waste in the federal government always generates consternation. Remember the “bridge to nowhere,” the $398 million route to a largely unpopulated Alaskan island contained in a 2005 spending bill? Or how about Solyndra, the solar energy company that went bankrupt after receiving $535 million in government loans from the Obama administration? Such programs are as indefensible as they are common, but they aren’t the most costly form of federal waste. More troubling is the far greater sums that line the pockets of powerful special interests.
New York Times
Editorial — False Promises
It has long been clear that an oily subgroup of for-profit schools were doing very well for themselves by recruiting students who had no real chance of graduating, pocketing their federal financial aid and leaving the students with valueless credentials Ñ or none at all Ñ and crippling debt. A dismaying study released this week by Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat of Iowa, suggests that this predatory behavior Ñ which costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars a year Ñ may extend well beyond the unscrupulous few to the industry as a whole. The study reveals a disturbing pattern in which companies use misleading tactics to lure poorly informed students into certificate and associate degree programs that average about four times the cost of similar programs in comparable community colleges.
St. Louis Post Dispatch
Editorial — Feds need to do more to rein in for-profit colleges
It’s disappointing that a federal judge has rejected the Department of Education’s attempt to crack down on for-profit colleges that are handing out student loans like Halloween candy. Judge Rudolph Contreras of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., determined June 30 that new rules intended to protect students from graduating with huge debt loads and poor job prospects were arbitrary. The Department of Education must get back to the drawing board and submit a better set of rules. Much like the congressional decision on student loan rates, there is little time to waste in finding a workable solution.
The New York Times
Editorial: Looking for Rats in Ratholes
A federal judge in Washington has overturned a central provision of the Obama administration’s rules for evaluating career-training programs that receive federal student aid. But the judge left the door open for the Department of Education to rewrite the regulations and strongly reaffirmed its authority to rein in unscrupulous, for-profit schools that bury students in debt while giving them valueless certificates or degrees. Instead of backing down, the department should revise the regulations and increase its efforts to make this industry accountable.
San Francisco Chronicle
Editorial — For-profit colleges must meet standards
The U.S. Department of Education is struggling to find the right way to regulate for-profit colleges. A federal judge in Washington just overturned a major component of the department’s new “gainful employment” rules, which were scheduled to go into effect on Sunday. Despite the setback, the department has to keep trying to find the right solution. There’s too much at stake.
Lexington Herald Leader
Editorial: Vets deserve education, not scams
In the world of unethical business practices, almost nothing is more despicable than preying on soldiers. So everyone can be glad that Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and 19 of his fellow AGs have shut down deceptive marketing of for-profit colleges by a site called GIBill.com. The California company, QuinStreet Inc., which operated the site, also agreed to pay $2.5 million as part of a settlement announced last week, though denying that it had engaged in deception.
Editorial — Good to look at for-profit college success rates in Cal Grant cuts
California’s economic future depends on an educated workforce, so it’s no cause for celebration that the state budget crunch is forcing cuts in college tuition grants for needy students. But at least most of the cuts come out of the for-profit private schools with the worst graduation and loan repayment rates. The spending plan sent to Gov. Jerry Brown cuts $103 million from the Cal Grant program by 2013-14 and tightens the rules for private colleges to be eligible for the money. These sensible standards are long overdue. Many for-profit schools are doing a good job, but others have abysmal records.
Editorial — G.I. Bill abuses show why California vets want service to count
As the California Legislature dawdles on bills to help veterans get credit for training they received while in the military, lawmakers should take note of an interesting settlement today. One of the arguments for the measures to require colleges and licensing boards to count relevant training and experience is to protect veterans from for-profit schools preying on them for their G.I. Bill benefits. In the settlement announced today, QuinStreet Inc., an Internet marketing company based in Foster City, agreed to turn over its website, www.GIBill.com, to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The company also will pay $2.5 million to 20 states whose attorneys general alleged that the website misled veterans by only listing schools that were QuinStreet clients as places where they could use their educational benefits.
Editorial — These schools profit big, on taxpayers’ tab
Dental students at Kaplan College’s Charlotte campus in a former Toys ÔR’ Us store say they were toyed with. They were told, many say, that they could graduate in one year with a dental-assistant credential that would boost their earning power. After taking on debt to pay $18,000 in tuition and fees, they learned they could only earn a much less valuable credential. After they complained and investigations were launched, Kaplan this year gave up its license to operate the program and paid refunds to about 200 students. It’s not a surprising episode. While there may be exceptions, the for-profit college industry has been marred by a pattern of over-promising and under-delivering, and doing it almost entirely on the taxpayer’s dime.
The New York Times
Editorial — Heavy Debt, but No Degree
In the weak economy, people who graduate from name-brand colleges are struggling to repay the heavy debt they often rack up getting through school. But college debt is an even bigger problem for the growing numbers of borrowers who drop out without degrees. A study published earlier this year by Education Sector, a research group based in Washington, shows that the borrowers who drop out are more than four times more likely than those who graduate to default on their college loans because they are more likely to be unemployed and earn less when they get a job. The study, based on Department of Education data, compares student borrowers who entered college in 1995 with those who entered in 2003 to see how each group fared six years later. Students who were not enrolled and did not earn degrees after six years were classified as dropouts.
San Francisco Examiner
Editorial — For-profit colleges need stronger regulations to protect job seekers
as media outlets have reported in the last few years, some of these schools take the tuition money, offer deeply substandard educations, and send students off with a degree that many hospitals and other businesses consider worthless. All too often, these students are saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in debt, with no skills with which to work and pay it off. For years, state officials have known about this problem. But the agency set up to regulate such schools and prevent or punish abuses in the vocational education industry Ñ the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education Ñ has been disgracefully underfunded.
Editorial: Veterans are not ‘dollar signs in uniform’
In 2008, Congress, figuring what worked once would work again, passed an expanded law that promised the same opportunity to the new generation of veterans who had served since 9/11. But some of those GIs are seeing their opportunity squandered by for-profit colleges with low graduation rates, high costs and high loan default rates. In fact, their new benefits might be propping up some schools that otherwise would struggle to meet federal rules. The failings of many for-profits Ñ and the risks they pose for both students and taxpayers Ñ have been widely publicized.
Editorial — Heed Obama’s warning about for-profit schools
During a speech at Fort Stewart, Ga., last week, President Barack Obama talked about a college recruiter “who had the nerve to visit a barracks at Camp Lejeune and enroll Marines with brain injuries.” The Marines were so injured they couldn’t recall what courses the recruiter had signed them up for. Who would prey on vulnerable soldiers? For-profit colleges and universities that aggressively recruit members of the military who are eligible to receive federal education money. Sign them up, get their money and forget about them. “They’re trying to swindle and hoodwink you,” Obama said. He signed an executive order requiring the schools to increase support for students and provide clear information about student aid.
Editorial — For-profit colleges need close scrutiny from Congress
If you’re considering higher education for yourself or your child, you should be doing a lot of research about cost and quality. Part of that research should include reading reports about for-profit schools from Harkin and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The senator’s investigations have disclosed deceptive marketing practices and high default rates on student loans. At one congressional hearing, a career services adviser from a for-profit school talked about being pressured to call former students and persuade them to sign forms stating they were using the skills learned in school at their current jobs. One “game art and design” student was paid $8.90 an hour working in the video game department at Toys R Us. He had incurred $100,000 in student loan debt getting his degree.
Editorial — College investment often a burden
Many families can’t afford college, and students incur backbreaking debt when they do attend. Iowa graduates owe an average of almost $30,000 in student loans, the third highest in the nation. This state ranks fourth in both the percentage of students who borrow for higher education and the percentage who later default on loans. What are students who want a chance at a better future supposed to do? No one likes to think of education as a product, but it is sold to consumers just like shampoo, cereal and cars. High school students are bombarded with advertisements in the mail.
Chicago Sun Times
Editorial: We’ll all wind up paying for huge student debt
Student loan debt topped $1 trillion for the first time late last year Ñ more than credit card or auto loan debt. Buried in that alarming statistic are countless heartbreaking stories of students who never will break free of their debt. Congress cannot let this go on. An army of young Americans shackled with loans they can never repay could be ruinous for the economy.
New York Times
Editorial — A Good Education With the G.I. Bill
Service members and veterans looking to learn more about their educational benefits under the G.I. Bill may be in trouble if they plunge unprepared into the wilds of the Internet. Many reputable private and public universities, trade schools and training programs are committed to helping veterans further their education and careers. But there are also predators itching to pad their enrollments with veterans and get their hands on government billions Ñ nearly 600,000 people are expected to enter classes under the G.I. Bill this year, with the Veterans Affairs Department footing more than $9 billion of the cost.
The New York Times
Editorial — For-Profit Education Scams
Attorneys general from more than 20 states have joined forces to investigate for-profit colleges that too often saddle students with crippling debt while furnishing them valueless degrees. The investigations have just begun. But it is already clear from testimony before a Senate committee that Congress must do more to rein in the schools and protect students. For-profit colleges are typically more expensive than public colleges, which means students graduate owing more. They account for nearly half of student loan defaults, even though they enroll a little more than 10 percent of higher education students.
Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
Editorial — For-profit controls
Last year, a Kentucky House bill to toughen oversight of the state’s for-profit or proprietary colleges met a stonewall in the Senate. Then came a state audit that was harshly critical of the Board for Proprietary Education, whose majority works for the for-profit colleges it purports to monitor. The findings of the audit were so appalling that only the word “purports” could apply to the workings of the group. In the current legislative session, House Bill 308, a scaled-back version of the previous bill, one that would nevertheless strengthen oversight of the schools, made it out of the Democratic-dominated House and to the Republican-dominated Senate, where the chamber’s Education Committee unanimously passed it last week.
The Daily Camera (Boulder, CO)
Editorial — Problems plague for-profit colleges: Colorado scores one for students, consumers
Three cheers for Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, whose office on Wednesday announced a $4.5 million settlement with Westwood College, Inc. — one of several for-profit colleges that have attracted justified scrutiny in recent years. The settlement addresses our state’s complaint that the school violated the Consumer Protection Act by misleading students, had deceiving advertisements and failed to comply with state lending laws.
The New York Times
Editorial — Help for Student Borrowers
The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is right to take on the poorly regulated, private student lending industry. Too often, college students are lured by schools or lenders into ruinously priced loans, even when they are eligible for affordable federal loans that offer hardship deferments and broad consumer protections. Under a new initiative, the bureau is providing one-stop shopping for complaints on billing and collection disputes, and financial institutions will have to resolve complaints within 60 days. The bureau should require lenders and schools to make the differences between loans clear, and Congress should require private lenders to contact colleges before issuing loans to determine if student borrowers are eligible for federal loans. The schools should then steer students toward the federal program.
News Journal (Delaware)
Editorial — End this for-profit dupe of our military members
At the very least, in exchange for defense of this country, our veterans should have unqualified access to the best post-secondary education we have to offer. Unfortunately, some for-profit schools don’t value their service enough to provide this guarantee. On Thursday, Sen. Tom Carper introduced a bill to close a loophole that allows these schools to exploit the government-paid tuition benefits of these members of the military.
Editorial — Close GI Bill loophole
For years, the U.S. Senate has investigated the recruiting practices of for-profit colleges. The businesses that run so-called career schools depend heavily on federal student aid, cater to low-income learners, and offer flexibility to those who must work while going to class. Some of these colleges have weak graduation rates. Senators heard troubling testimony from students and employees in 2010, and issued a report that showed some of the schools routinely promised more than they delivered. That has to stop. One sure way is to enact Senator Durbin’s bill.
Editorial: For-profit colleges are no answer to high tuition
Out on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney is recommending for-profit colleges as an answer to rising tuition. At least once he has lauded a particular institution, Florida-based Full Sail University, which is run by a major campaign donor. A closer look at the record of for-profit universities suggests that Romney needs to go back to school on the issue. The industry is plagued by institutions with low graduation rates and high loan default rates. As for costs, the average student at a for-profit college spends $30,900 per year for tuition and living expenses, according to the Education Department. That’s almost twice the $15,600 that students at public colleges spend, and considerably more than the $26,600 that students at private, non-profit colleges spend.
Star Ledger (NJ)
Editorial: Caving to lobbyists on for-profit school regulation hurts students
Chalk up another victory for the lobbyists who protect profits over people. Students, scammed by for-profit schools promising good-paying jobs in everything from medical billing to web design, were no match for the well-connected lobbyists representing the $30 billion industry.
The Minnesota Daily
Editorial — Obama succumbs to higher ed lobby
Obama had promised to cut tens of billions of dollars in federal aid toward colleges whose graduated students weren’t earning enough money to pay back their loans Ñ numbers which the Washington Post reports are “staggering.” In all, 16 percent of the schools were supposed to be affected by the tough regulations. Instead, a mere 5 percent are, and restrictions are not nearly as tough as they should be.
Lexington Herald Leader
Editorial — Test for-profit education; weigh value of state aid
It’s encouraging that some lawmakers want to review Kentucky’s support of for-profit colleges Ñ not to pick on for-profit colleges, but because the legislature has a duty to make sure taxpayers are getting the most value possible from state spending on education.Kentucky is channeling a big chunk of its student financial aid Ñ $97 million since 1999 Ñ to for-profit schools.
Ensuring GI Bill money is well spent
A study of the federal money spent in the past two years to send veterans to college shows some disturbing trends. Too often, veterans are using the GI Bill to go to expensive private schools that advertise flexible schedules and expedited degree programs. They take out loans to help pay the costs, but nearly half of vets drop out within a year. Many default on loans because they can’t get a decent-paying job.
The New York Times
A Broader G.I. Bill
Unless strong controls are put in place, the surge of G.I. Bill money will be a windfall for fly-by-night schools more interested in cashing in on veterans than educating them. As a Senate committee warned in a recent report, a disproportionate amount of the taxpayer money spent on veterans’ education has already been snapped up by private, for-profit colleges. These schools often cost much more than public institutions yet have dismal graduation rates and dubious curriculums.
Bondi needs company in watching for-profit colleges
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s consumer protection credibility took a hit last month after her office ousted two top foreclosure fraud lawyers. She tempered the damage this month when she decided Florida would join an anti-fraud lawsuit against the nation’s second-largest for-profit college chain. Bondi’s interest in cracking down on alleged fraud in the for-profit college industry in Florida is commendable. Unfortunately, her office seems to be the only state agency taking the issue seriously.
East Orlando Sun
Education is meant to increase students’ knowledge and develop a more educated workforce. It’s not a profit center. But don’t tell that to Florida Gov. Rick Scott. He wants the state’s higher education system to have a better balance sheet. He wants it to run like a business. Drawing from controversial policies implemented in Texas by Gov. Rick Perry to cut down on expenses and increase revenue in state colleges, Scott has called for numerous changes to higher education that could have drastic effects on the current model of how the system works.
New York Times
An Industry in Need of Accountability
The Justice Department sent a powerful message last week when it filed suit against the nation’s second-largest for-profit college company, charging it with fraudulently collecting $11 billion in federal student financial aid from 2003 through June 2011. The suit against the Education Management Corporation, which enrolls about 150,000 students in more than 100 schools, puts the for-profit sector on notice that the government is at last prepared to move decisively against the unscrupulous conduct that appears to be all too common in the industry.
St. Petersburg Times
For-profit schools get needed scrutiny
The practices of some of the nation’s largest for-profit colleges are less than upstanding. Some colleges have many more recruiters than professors; admit students without the qualifications to actually earn a degree; and then pay top executives and shareholders millions while students are shackled with outsized debts. A lawsuit joined Monday by the Justice Department and a handful of states, including Florida, will give the public an even clearer picture of this shady side of the for-profit, publicly traded education business. The crackdown is welcome.
Legal action against allegedly abusive practices by proprietary colleges is taking place in Kentucky and throughout the country. The efforts ought to earn the attention of anyone enrolled in the schools, or thinking about enrolling, as well as taxpayers who supply the huge amounts of federal dollars going into student loans for attending the colleges. Two of the raps on some of the for-profit colleges are higher price tags for degrees than public universities, and a high default rate on student loans.
Pressure to pay
This is a high-stakes election year in Kentucky, with races for governor and attorney general dominating the ballot. All the campaigns are soliciting donations from anyone who’s willing to give. But several recent stories in The Courier-Journal indicate that the customary fund-raising may be going to extremes Ñ perhaps illegal extremes Ñ as workers complain they are being coerced to support candidates by their employees.
Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne)
Welcome student aid scrutiny
Assuming the government’s accusations are true, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s decision to join a whistleblower lawsuit represents a welcome crackdown on a for-profit college accused of tempting recruiters with vacation trips in violation of federal law. Indiana joins California, Florida and Illinois in the U.S. Justice Department suit against Education Management Corp. The company operates The Art Institute of Indianapolis and five Brown Mackie Colleges in Indiana, including a Fort Wayne campus at 3000 Coliseum Blvd. E. Goldman Sachs owns 41 percent of the Pittsburgh-based company.
Ripping off students
Not all proprietary colleges operate as predators; indeed, some are very good schools. But the worst of them feed a sleazy reputation built on exploited hopes, fears and dreams of people wishing to change their lives Ñ with higher price tags than public colleges and universities, to boot.
Aggressive recruiting and loan defaults at for-profit schools demand more oversight
Reports of high-pressure and deceptive recruiting practices, high tuitions and high loan-default rates at some of these colleges cry out for federal and state authorities to wake up. The students are at risk, and so are taxpayers who back their loans.
Students at for-profit colleges are taking on debt they can’t handle
For-profit schools often charge much-higher tuitions, which means their students end up deeper in hock. Nationally, more than 90 percent of students at for-profit colleges borrow to bankroll their educations, compared with 13 percent at public colleges. With jobs scarce and wages stagnant, it’s harder than ever for students to repay their loans.
Palm Beach Post
The taxpayers got schooled
An undercover investigation of 15 for-profit colleges by the Government Accountability Office found that four colleges encouraged applicants to falsify financial aid forms to qualify for federal aid, and that all 15 made deceptive or otherwise questionable statements to undercover applicants.
Lexington Herald Leader
Getting money’s worth not partisan
Elected officials who want to guard the public treasury will have to make sure that something of value is being provided for all the tax dollars that flow into the for-profit education industry’s bottom lines. Yet, the partisan divide that has become all too familiar is opening up again.
College debt bubble
Think of debt among college students like the temperature in a sick patient: The higher it rises, the more reason for alarm. About half the Florida college or university graduates in 2009, the most recent year for which figures are available, left school in debt for loans they took to cover the cost of their higher educations.
Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne)
Student borrowers, beware
What began as a promising crackdown on for-profit schools that leave students saddled with debt and qualified only for low-paying jobs ended in watered-down fashion this month with release of new federal rules. For students, “borrower beware” remains the best advice.
New York Times
The Obama administration is right to tighten rules for for-profit colleges, which have come under scrutiny for deceptive practices and burying students in unreasonable debt. But the Department of Education is limited in its regulatory authority. It is up to Congress to rein in abuses by toughening the laws that govern this industry.
St. Petersburg Times
New rules let for-profit schools off the hook
The Obama administration caved in to pressure from the for-profit college industry by watering down regulations designed to protect low-income students from exploitation. While some regulation is better than none, the Department of Education missed an opportunity to demand that students and taxpayers get their money’s worth from career schools that peddle expensive vocational and certificate programs as a means to good jobs that too often never materialize.
The Daily Iowan
Harkin-backed regulations of for-profit colleges don’t go far enough
Lately, many have begun to question for-profit colleges. Do they have the best interest of their students in mind? Or are they simply looking for a way to do exactly what’s in their name Ñ profit?
The New York Times
Stopping Fraud at Trade Schools
New York State needs to do a better job of regulating the for-profit trade school industry, which is increasingly known for deceptive practices and saddling students with debt while providing them little in return.
Eugene Register Guard
Rein in for-profit colleges
The Obama administration backed so far away from tough new standards governing for-profit colleges’ eligibility for federal student loan programs that when the rules were announced Thursday, publicly traded colleges’ stocks rose. Yet even a modest effort to ensure that students and taxpayers are getting their money’s worth from for-profit schools is welcome.
The New York Times
Education Is the Last Thing on Their Minds
The for-profit education industry complained of excessive regulation last fall when the Obama administration issued new rules intended to curb abuses at profit-making colleges and trade schools. But lawsuits brought by whistle-blowers with firsthand knowledge of the industry make a strong case for why tough rules are needed.
Des Moines Register
For-profit colleges need additional oversight
Jeff Conlon, chief executive officer of Kaplan Higher Education, visited The Des Moines Register this week to talk about for-profit colleges. These schools, including Kaplan, enroll about 10 percent of college students across the country who receive $24 billion a year in taxpayer-funded grants and aid. And they have been getting a lot of negative attention in Washington, D.C. Like other for-profit schools, Kaplan wants to defend its reputation.This editorial is no longer available online but can be purchased here.
Congress needs to address career colleges’ toxic choices
FOR-PROFIT colleges have successfully marketed a compelling story in which they star front and center as benevolent purveyors of the American dream through education and gainful employment. The reality is the complete opposite. Former students testified before a U.S. Senate oversight committee this month about exorbitant tuition costs and unfulfilled promises of good jobs. One student spoke of completing a program in video-game design and ending up in the video games section of a Toys R Us.
Dubuque Telegraph Herald
Congress should study tactics of for-profit colleges
Ever see those television commercials for colleges promising a great education that will lead to a big salary? You might have been skeptical of the claims. You might have wondered if schools like the University of Phoenix are even real campuses. U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin shares your concern. The Iowa Democrat is leading an investigation of the practices of for-profit colleges and the money that the federal government funnels to them. Some of the revelations are shocking.
Marine Corps Times
“Congress, Pentagon must keep eye on for-profit schools targeting troops”
Ever see those television commercials for colleges promising a great education that will lead to a big salary? You might have been skeptical of the claims. You might have wondered if schools like the University of Phoenix are even real campuses.
Better bang for student-aid bucks
With the growth, however, have come a series of troubling questions. The loan default rates for federal student aid are significantly higher in Florida than the proportion of students in higher education. According to the U.S. Department of Education, for-profit schools around the country account for 26 percent of federal student aid, yet their students make up nearly half of all defaults. The median federal student loan debt for students earning associate degrees at for-profit institutions for 2007-08 was $14,000, almost double the median for students at non-profit colleges and universities.
Selling fake dreams
The come-on sounds really nice. But too often it’s just that, an enticement that leaves young people strapped with a college-loan debt and very little chance of obtaining a job in their major.
As this sector of the education market has grown, so have questions about the quality of its programs. Last year, an undercover investigation by the Government Accountability Office found widespread abuses. Students were misled about costs and potential earning prospects, and in some cases encouraged to lie on their financial-aid applications. At some schools, recruiters used high-pressure tactics to get them to enroll.
San Francisco Chronicle
For-profit schools must be better regulated
This fast-growing industry – which has jumped from 365,000 students to 1.8 million in several years – presents major problems. A Government Accountability Office report found that the operations were rife with “fraudulent practices” such as false promises and heavy-handed recruiting. The Department of Education is pushing “gainful employment” rules to eliminate the worst of the abuses that leave students with low-paying jobs and heavy debt.
San Jose Mercury News
For-profit college rules must be implemented
Though leaders in the House of Representatives insist their No. 1 priority is cutting government spending, it’s clear they have other goals. Among them is protecting the for-profit college industry, even though some of its practices waste untold millions in tax dollars and hurt poor and minority students.This editorial is no longer available online but can be purchasedhere.
Des Moines Register
For-profit colleges need federal oversight
Sen. Tom Harkin isn’t going to let fellow lawmakers forget about the problems at for-profit colleges – and the implications for taxpayers and students. In a recent floor speech, he referred to investigations, including his own, into some schools. In addition to findings of deceptive marketing practices and high default rates on student loans, he emphasized the “emotionally abusive tactics” used to encourage students to enroll. His speech should be a wake-up call for his colleagues. This editorial is no longer available online but can be purchased here.
Kansas City Star
Colleges must ratchet down their ever-rising costs
This editorial discusses student debt and proposed gainful employment rule; cites recent report by the Education Trust. This editorial is no longer available online but can be purchased here.
St. Petersburg Times
For-profit colleges need closer scrutiny
When a quarter of an industry depends on public money for 80 percent or more of its income, government oversight should be expected. That’s not been the case with for-profit colleges, where unscrupulous salesmen at some institutions oversell the curriculum and make inflated promises of jobs to convince students to sign up for expensive tuition and thousands of dollars in federal financial aid they have little hope of paying back.
Editorial: For-Profit Colleges
This editorial describes recent moves by state attorney general and legislature regarding for-profit colleges. It further states that “at the heart of all the investigations is whether students and the public are being fleeced. There should be no delay in determining the truth Ñ and then no hesitation in providing stronger laws and regulations.” This editorial is no longer available online but can be purchased here.
Tacoma News Tribune
Get moving on rules governing for-profit colleges
On another issue involving for-profit colleges Ñ the so-called “gainful employment” rule Ñ the department is facing such furious industry push-back that reform could be in jeopardy.
For-profit colleges deserve scrutiny
In a state where the need for education far outstrips the resources to pay for it, Attorney General Jack Conway’s investigation of for-profit colleges and schools is a welcome development. Graduates of for-profit colleges are at least twice as likely to default on federal student loans as graduates of other institutions. And for-profit colleges live on federal financial aid; their share increased from $4.6 billion in 2000 to $26.5 billion last year.
Regulate for-profit colleges
This editorial is no longer available online but can be purchased here.
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Tightening up for-profit colleges
The U.S. Department of Education has made significant strides lately in reforming higher education. It overhauled the student loan system to save taxpayers billions while expanding aid. It created regulations governing for-profit colleges, requiring more disclosure about how students fare after graduation and protecting students from misleading and aggressive marketing.
Whittier Daily News
Another view: Approve rules on for-profit colleges
This editorial is no longer available online but can be purchased here.
Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA)
For-profit college rules needed
The U.S. Department of Education has made significant strides lately in reforming higher education. But on another issue involving for-profit colleges – the so-called “gainful employment” rule – the department is facing such furious industry pushback that reform could be in jeopardy. Congressional representatives who are heavily involved in education must lend support to this important consumer protection.
Schools of Profit
It has been a tough semester for the nation’s for-profit colleges and universities. These are the schools of higher education Ñ such as the University of Phoenix, Kaplan University, DeVry, and others Ñ that call themselves “career colleges” and cater to low-income students while offering flexibility to those who work while going to class.
San Jose Mercury News
Federal rules governing for-profit colleges should proceed
This editorial is no longer available online but can be purchased here.
Schools of Profit: Students deserve better at career colleges
Many of the schools’ practices have come under scrutiny by the Senate education committee, and for good reason. After seeking data from 30 for-profit colleges, Sen. Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who chairs the panel, issued a troubling report in September that showed many students leave the schools with huge debts, no diplomas and little chance for the kind of jobs they were seeking.
New York Times
Preying on veterans
The for-profit education industry has been pushing back hard against new Education Department rules that will make it easier to rein in predatory schools that strip students of financial aid, saddle them with crushing debt and give them nothing in return. But the evidence is mounting that the new rules might not be enough to prevent some of the worst abuses.
New York Times
Rules for Gainful Employment
The Obama administration has already adopted several new rules that will give the Department of Education more authority to rein in corrupt practices by for-profit universities. But the most crucial rule, the “gainful employment” provision, is still awaiting approval, and the industry is pushing back hard.
West Virginia Gazette-Mail
For-profit colleges’ outrages
Former WVU President Gordon Gee, now at Ohio State, was paid $1.5 million last year. He’s the only leader of a state-owned university earning more than $1 million. However, Robert Silberman, CEO of for-profit, on-line Strayer University, got $41.9 million in 2009, Bloomberg News says. For-profit schools exist almost entirely on federal student loans, which can leave unlucky students saddled with huge debts — upon which many default. Silberman is living quite well on the system.
Journal Star (Lincoln, NE)
For-profit schools need oversight
For-profit schools are grabbing a growing share of higher education in the United States. About 11 percent of students in higher education are enrolled in for-profit schools. Some of the schools have engaged in unsavory practices in other parts of the country. Undercover investigators posing as college applicants encountered deceptive practices or fraud at each of the 15 campuses they visited, the Government Accountability Office reported earlier this year.
Student loans: More oversight needed
The federal government has the right and responsibility to see that student loans are being used efficiently. In short, the government should take action to prevent what has been called “the next bubble,” massive defaults of student loans.
For-profit schools have promises to keep
The ads are ubiquitous on late night TV, billboards and the internet for schools that promise good-paying jobs in medical billing or massage therapy after training in less time than it takes to obtain a college degree, and with classes that fit your schedule, on campus or on-line Ñ for a price, or course.
New York Times
Let the students profit
The Obama administration has proposed tough and much-needed regulations for lucrative for-profit colleges. Industry is predictably pushing back hard, with legions of high-priced lobbyists and organized letter-writing campaigns. The administration must hold its ground.
Los Angeles Times
New restrictions on for-profit colleges don’t seem strict enough
It’s not surprising that enrollment at for-profit colleges nearly tripled from 2000 to 2008, and is believed to have grown substantially since then. As U.S. companies have cut their payrolls and a degree or certificate has become a prerequisite for more kinds of work, people looked to these schools as an avenue to careers as truckers, dental hygienists and other jobs that can’t be outsourced to China or India.
“Our view on student loans: High costs, loan defaults expose for-profit colleges”
When for-profit universities started popping up in the 1990s, they seemed like such a good idea. They would attract money needed to meet surging demand for higher education. They would be innovative and nimble. And perhaps they would even force change at America’s non-profit colleges and universities, where costs have soared.
New York Times
Who profits? Who learns?
Enrollment at for-profit colleges and trade schools has tripled in the last decade to about 1.8 million, or nearly 10 percent of the nation’s higher education students. These schools, partly because they serve poorer students who need more support, receive almost a quarter of the federal aid. This year, federal financing for financial aid is expected to total $145 billion
Tighten rules on for-profit schools
The private, for-profit college model serves a purpose in Colorado, but some guardrails need to be enacted to protect taxpayers, and students, from abuses and scams. Stories last Sunday and Monday by Denver Post reporters Allison Sherry and Greg Griffin explored the big debt burden borne by students from these schools, and the high rate at which they default on federal student loans. These are the schools that typically advertise on daytime television about the fabulous career you can have in an interesting field, such as the world of fashion design.