Report blasts shortcomings of for-profit colleges

In 2010, the 30 for-profit colleges examined employed 35,202 recruiters compared with 3,512 career services staffers.

For-profit colleges are failing their students and saddling taxpayers with an enormous bill, a two-year investigation by the Senate education committee’s Democratic staff concluded.

The harsh report, released July 30 by the committee’s chairman, 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.”…Read More

GOP takeover signals major changes for higher ed

New House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has supported for-profit colleges as officials lobby against ED's "gainful employment" rules.

Congressional Republicans who have long railed against increases in federal student aid and new regulations aimed at for-profit colleges will serve influential roles on key committees next year—a shift that could change the Obama administration’s approach to important higher-education issues.

Republicans will have a majority in the House of Representatives in 2011 for the first time since 2006, when Democrats secured a large majority in both Congressional chambers. Democrats will maintain a slim majority in the Senate next year.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan has pushed for greater federal regulation of for-profit colleges—which include some of the largest online education programs in the country—after government investigations revealed shady recruitment practices.…Read More