Bulldozed with horror stories, states are working to protect college students as consumers

profits-states-loansWhen Murray Hastie returned to New York in January 2006 after two tours of duty in Iraq, he hoped to use the GI Bill to complete his college education.

Denied admission to two state colleges, Hastie came upon DeVry University. The day after he filled out an online request for information, a representative from the for-profit university visited him at his home and encouraged him to enroll in a biomedical informatics program in New Jersey.

DeVry said he would receive in-state tuition and that his GI benefits would cover all of his educational costs, and helped him apply for loans, Hastie said.

Three semesters into the program, Hastie was struggling. He was being taught to write computer code, not preparing to work in a research lab, which is what he had been told he would be doing. Meanwhile, he was increasingly worried about his mounting debt. By the time he decided to cut his losses and move back home, Hastie had racked up more than $90,000 in student loans—with no degree to show for it.

Inundated by stories such as Hastie’s, a number of states are working to protect college students as consumers, even as the federal government plays a more important role in regulating both for-profit colleges and the student loan industry.

(Next page: How states are starting to protect students)


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