States need to work together, develop new battle plan to combat what some say are the evils of for-profit colleges and universities

battle-for-profit-statesWhen Hannah Benbow ran into problems with the for-profit college she attended, she turned to the federal government for help.

Benbow, 24, wrote to the U.S. Department of Education when the Art Institute of Washington in Arlington, Va.—one of more than 50 for-profit Art Institute campuses across the country—told her unexpectedly that she would need to apply for yet another student loan, on top of the nearly $120,000 she’d already borrowed, to cover $7,000 in fees she said were not disclosed to her before she signed up.

“Since my parents and family have already co-signed my other ridiculous amount of loans, they were denied on this one,” Benbow wrote in her letter to the agency, whose responsibilities include regulating higher education.

She never got an answer.

Oversight of for-profit colleges and universities by the U.S. Department of Education has been mired in political quicksand and thwarted by the colleges’ effective lobbying and legal challenges. But now, states and other federal agencies are stepping in and cracking down.

(Next page: Why former attempts have failed)


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