As for-profit college sector grows, employment drops

“You can’t claim that you’re reasonably priced because you’re cheaper than Ivy League schools, then also claim to have reasonable default rates because they’re on par with community colleges,” he wrote in a blog post. “That’s even if your comparable default rates typically don’t include the fact that far fewer students at less-expensive community colleges take out loans in the first place.”

A Congressional report on for-profit colleges’ business practices, released July 30 by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, found that federal taxpayers spent $32 billion on for-profit colleges in 2009-10, while more than half of the students who enrolled in them dropped out without a degree after about four months in 2008-09.

“In this report, 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,” Harkin said. “These practices are not the exception—they are the norm.”

Steve Gunderson, president of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities and a former GOP congressman, 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.”