For-Profits Fight Accountability

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

In yet another attempt to avoid being judged by tangible standards like everyone else, some colleges are fighting legislation designed to hold them accountable for their efforts. “For-profit colleges, under attack in Congress and faced with regulation that could ravage their revenues, are staging an aggressive, but increasingly hopeless, campaign to ward off legislation and defeat a proposed rule,” Kelly Field reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education on September 10, 2010. “In recent weeks, their representatives have filed thousands of comments criticizing the Education Department’s ‘gainful employment’ rule, which would cut off federal student aid to programs whose graduates have high debt-to-income ratios and low loan-repayment rates.”

“Advocates of the colleges have flooded town-hall meetings in lawmakers’ districts and pressured faculty and staff members to speak out against the proposal. As of early next week, more than 26,000 comments had been filed with the Education Department, a spokeswoman said.”

“The colleges have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying Congress and federal agencies, nearly doubling their lobbying expenditures over the past year.”

Maybe they should have spent it on:

  • Student aid
  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Career Services.

As it happens, according to a briefing in that same issue of The Chronicle, “Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, argued at a forum he held in Chicago last week that ‘there are too many schools taking advantage of students and making money hand over fist.’”

“The forum featured testimony from the leaders of three major for-profit colleges as well as from two students who described being misled about their programs’ accreditation status and their job prospects. The corporate executives defended their institutions and warned against a rush to regulate the for-profit sector.”

But as we learned from the Grove City ruling, what the federal government subsidizes it can regulate.

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

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