Educational Institutions Targeting Homeless Americans?

Barry Lenson

“Homeless Dropouts from High School Lured by For-Profit Colleges,” an article in the May 3 edition of Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine, paints an appalling picture of how some institutions of higher learning are targeting America’s homeless.

The article, by reporter Daniel Gordon, relates stories like these . . . 

One university staged a seminar in a homeless shelter and made a pitch for higher education before 70 homeless men. Then it moved in to give the hard sell to a handful of them who expressed interest. Gordon writes: “Such disadvantaged students are desirable because they qualify for federal grants and loans, which are largely responsible for the prosperity of for-profit colleges. Federal aid to students at for-profit colleges jumped to $26.5 billion in 2009 from $4.6 billion in 2000. Publicly traded higher education companies derive three-fourths of their revenue from federal funds.” Gordon further reports that the university that visited the homeless men derives 86 percent of its revenue from government funds - up from 48 percent in 2001. You know the identity of this university – you’ve seen its ads on billboards and online.

One popular business college uses government funds to pay its students $700 a month to attend. According to Gordon, it is an open secret at a homeless shelter in Newark that enrolling in this school can pay you an allowance on the taxpayer’s tab.

It strikes us as cynical and dishonest to use disadvantaged people as pawns in a profit-making machine. Don’t’ you agree? Why not take a moment and share your thoughts with us on this blog.

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