Haddock, according to a leaked White House memo, was considering shifting his support to the Republican nominee in 2012 because the Obama administration pushed through “gainful employment” regulations for for-profit colleges.

The much-debated set of rules would require for-profit schools to meet a range of standards in order to receive federal money, which accounts for almost 90 percent of for-profit college funding.

If higher-education costs remain an important campaign issue, the Obama campaign team could use Romney’s Full Sail support against him in the contest’s final months, said Neal McCluskey, associate director at the libertarian Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom.

“It fits with the theme that Romney only cares only about rich people making a lot of money and not about the little guy,” McCluskey said. “So I think it will be a tool for [the Obama campaign].”

Continuing to rally around for-profit schools as a financial model for all college campuses, McCluskey said, would be a mistake for Romney and his campaign.

“I think if he kept [supporting Full Sail], it would be a tactical error,” he said. “But I think the Obama team will have a hard time making it seem like Romney is making a big deal about Full Sail.”


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