Congress to Investigate Economic Dangers Posed by For-Profit Universities

Barry Lenson

“Democrats Call for U.S. Probe of For-Profit Colleges,” an article in the June 21 edition of Bloomberg BusinessWeek, reports that congress is poised to investigate the business practices of large for-profit universities that push students to pay for their educations with federal student loans.

The investigation, which will proceed in the coming weeks, was initiated by U.S. Rep. George Miller (chair of the House Education and Labor Committee) and Senator Tom Harkin, who want to take action before students at for-profit colleges default on the$275 billion in federal student loans that they have taken.

To quote from the article. . .

“The number of students attending for-profit colleges in the U.S. rose to 1.8 million in 2008, from 550,000 in 1998, according to Harkin. One in five students who left a for-profit college with educational debt in 2007 defaulted on the loan within three years, Harkin said, citing U.S. Department of Education data. President Barack Obama’s administration proposed rules on June 16 to tighten regulation of the industry.”

As pioneers in distance learning, we at StraighterLine applaud the investigation that is about to continue under the leadership of Miller and Harkin. If for-profit universities are using students as pawns in a game to milk the government of educational loans and dollars, we urge an end to such practices.

Isn’t it better to keep costs low than to deceive students and the government? We think so. It seems like an easy choice to us.

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