January 13, 2014
Rob Andrews

Miller Retirement Could Make Andrews, For-Profit Colleges’ Best Friend, Top Dem on Education

Twenty-term California Democratic Congressman George Miller informed his staff today that he is retiring.  Miller deserves credit for a long record of public service.  Among many other things, this development could have implications for the long struggle by the Obama Administration to hold the for-profit college industry accountable for deceit and abuse of students and taxpayers.

Miller has for many years been the senior Democrat on the House committee overseeing education and labor.  Miller has not been a strong and active critic of this industry in the way that other members, like Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Dick Durbin …

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January 13, 2014

Daily Caller, Once Rabid Protector of For-Profit Colleges, Attacks School Tied to Clintons

The Daily Caller, a conservative web publication, devoted much space in recent years to attacks on critics of America’s for-profit colleges, echoing claims made by for-profit college owners at a time when that controversial industry has been seeking to avoid accountability for its well-documented abuses of students and taxpayers. Yet now the Tucker Carlson-edited website has turned around and attacked a for-profit college company, breathlessly repeating the negative information in a recent Bloomberg report on Laureate Education. Why the change of heart?  Possibly because Laureate’s paid “honorary chairman” is none other than Bill Clinton. And, under Secretary Hillary …

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December 16, 2013

House Dems Backing For-Profit Colleges Gutted Their Own Letter

Thirty House Democrats ended up signing a letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that was organized at the behest of the for-profit college industry. The prime movers of the letter, Representatives Alcee Hastings (FL) and Rob Andrews (NJ), both are regular recipients of campaign cash from this industry.  But the industry did not get all it wanted.

First of all, although the letter seemed to be timed to coincide with the final round of Department of Education negotiations with outside stakeholders held on Friday, it wasn’t actually released until Saturday, buried from media scrutiny. Perhaps that was because …

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December 16, 2013

Corruption Threatens Obama Action on For-Profit Colleges

In the past five years Americans have become increasingly aware that many for-profit colleges — the career training schools that advertise all over TV, the Internet, and city buses — are engaged in systematic fraud. These schools have been caught luring students with false promises about the cost of programs and the value of degrees — and then leaving them unemployed and deep in debt. Unfortunately, it’s now possible that a cycle of corruption built into our political system may allow these institutions to keep abusing students for another generation.

For-profit colleges today have 13 percent of all college students …

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December 13, 2013

Obama Team Must Be Fair, but Tough, on For-Profit Colleges

This morning the U.S. Department of Education convenes what may finally be the last session of its negotiated rulemaking on a proposed “gainful employment” rule, a measure aimed at cutting off federal aid to career college programs that fail to train students to earn a decent living.  The latest draft regulation from the Department would be a step in the right direction as compared with the status quo, but as the New America Foundation’s Ben Miller shows, it’s somewhat weaker than the previous draft, in terms of holding predatory career colleges accountable for programs that leave students with …

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December 12, 2013

Steve Forbes, The Olympics, Congress and Other Stuff For-Profit Colleges Buy With Your Tax Dollars

America’s for-profit colleges are receiving as much as $33 billion in a single year from your tax money, and billions more from the pockets of students, a lot of whom are left deep in debt and jobless from their encounters with predatory schools.  Many of the biggest for-profit colleges get close to 90 percent of their revenue from federal grants and loans, and yet the cost for students of attending, after financial aid awards, can be more than even private schools like Harvard.  So what are for-profit colleges doing with all this money?

Buying influence with the media.  Bridgepoint Education recently …

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December 9, 2013
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For-profit college group, linked to ALEC, keeps working to harm students and taxpayers

It’s a busy time for APSCU, the trade association of America’s for-profit colleges.  The group spends its time trying to block reasonable measures to hold the worst actors in its industry responsible for their systematic abuses of students and taxpayers, as if the industry is permanently entitled to the enormous amounts of federal taxpayer money — $33 billion in a recent year — that it receives. And the industry is under siege, now that media and government investigations have exposed that many for-profit colleges offer a toxic mix of deceptive recruiting, high prices, low quality instruction, and poor …

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November 18, 2013
Outside the room where the Department of Education holds its rulemaking sessions. Two of past three Assistant Secretaries for Post-Secondary Education later became lobbyists for for-profit colleges.
Outside the room where the Department of Education holds its rulemaking sessions. Both people who served as Assistant Secretary for Post-Secondary Education under George W. Bush later became lobbyists for for-profit colleges.

Finally, A Chance To Curb the Abuses of For-Profit Colleges

This morning, in a packed room on the 8th floor of a K Street building, the U.S. Department of Education resumes talks in pursuit of a “gainful employment” rule aimed at penalizing for-profit colleges that leave students deep in debt and without decent paying jobs. It’s called a ”negotiated rulemaking,” bringing together representatives of schools, students, and others, but the parties are too far apart for there to be a successful negotiation. Instead the discussions are sharpening the debate, and have pushed the Department toward articulating its own increasingly solid set of rules that might actually be strong …

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