Navy Times: Senate report slams major for-profit schools

The Navy Times publishes an article highlighting the Harkin report on for-profit schools:

A Senate committee released a blistering 5,194-page report on Monday detailing its findings from a two-year investigation of the for-profit education industry, including its use and abuse of Post-9/11 GI Bill and military tuition assistance funding.


While Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, head of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, stressed that the investigation found responsible for-profit schools, the overall report stresses many education companies’ alleged unethical recruitment practices, low graduation rates, high student debt default rates and higher-than-average tuition costs, all of which the committee has publicly decried for years.


The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities immediately fired back. Steve Gunderson, head of the association, called the report a case of “ideology overriding reality” and accused Harkin of being involved in “nothing more than political attacks.”


The report focuses on the top 30 companies that operate for-profit schools, some of which operate more than one school. The list includes such giants as the Apollo Group, owner of University of Phoenix, as well as American Public Education, Inc., owner of American Military University, the most popular school for students using Defense Department tuition assistance funds.


In a news conference Monday afternoon, Harkin advocated new laws that would prevent schools from using federal aid, including GI Bill funds, for marketing or lobbying, and argued that the Education Department should track all students, not only first-time, full-time students as it does now.

Read the full article.

For-Profit Colleges Get Scathing Indictment In Senate Report

The Huffington Post:

After a two-year investigation of the for-profit higher education industry, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) on Monday unveiled an exhaustive report on the colleges’ business practices, highlighting schools that charge excessively high tuition and shortchange academic investments in order to maximize revenues.

The report, featuring hundreds of pages of research drawn from internal company e-mails and statistics, concludes that the federal government has failed to protect students from misleading sales pitches and poor quality programs, and has not adequately safeguarded the $32 billion in taxpayer dollars that flow to the industry.

“American taxpayers are the single biggest investor in for-profit colleges, yet the government that holds their trust has little ability to ensure that they get the return on investment they deserve: educational and career success for the students who enroll,” the report said. “Congress must put in place a much more rigorous regulatory structure that incentivizes the sector to make the financial investments necessary to result in higher student success.”

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Senate Report: For-Profit Colleges Exploit Students

Claudia Sanzhez at NPR reports on Sen. Tom Harkin’s report on the abuses of for-profit colleges:

A report released Monday by Senate Democrats says for-profit colleges exploit students with aggressive recruiting tactics, high tuition and low graduation rates. The report says some schools set tuition based on the level of government grants or raised the price for some courses if the school was not making enough profit on them. The report is the culmination of a two-year investigation.

Listen to the story here.

Senate Committee Report on For-Profit Colleges Condemns Costs and Practices

The New York Times reports on Senator Tom Harkin’s report on for-profit colleges:

According to the report, which was posted online in advance, taxpayers spent $32 billion in the most recent year on companies that operate for-profit colleges, but the majority of students they enroll leave without a degree, half of those within four months.

“In this report, you will find overwhelming documentation of exorbitant tuition, aggressive recruiting practices, abysmal student outcomes, taxpayer dollars spent on marketing and pocketed as profit, and regulatory evasion and manipulation,” Mr. Harkin, an Iowa Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said in a statement on Sunday. “These practices are not the exception — they are the norm. They are systemic throughout the industry, with very few individual exceptions.”

Read the full article.


Anger grows over GI Bill profiteers

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Congress, the White House and veterans groups — spurred by complaints from thousands of veterans like Maddox — are cracking down on for-profit schools that have raked in hundreds of millions of dollars in GI Bill benefits. They say the schools prey on veterans with misleading ads while selling expensive and woefully inadequate educations.

Since the Post-9/11 GI Bill took effect in 2009, eight of the 10 colleges collecting the most money from the program have been for-profit schools.

The companies earned 86% of their revenue from taxpayer dollars in 2009, mostly GI Bill payments, according to Congress, with the top 20 for-profit education companies receiving $521 million in veterans’ education funds in 2010.

Yet taxpayers spend more than twice as much to educate a veteran at a for-profit school than at a public university. Congressional investigators say for-profit schools have far higher drop-out rates and loan interest and default rates than public universities, and credits earned at many for-profit schools don’t always transfer to public schools.

Veterans’ groups say for-profit schools snare unsuspecting veterans with aggressive marketing, high-pressure sales calls and ads that falsely imply that their schools are exclusively approved for GI Bill benefits.

Read the full article.

Moses Maddox

Moses Maddox served two tours of duty in Iraq as a corporal in the United States Marine Corps. An IAVA member, Maddox appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman in May to talk about his experience in Iraq, the importance of getting an education and his frustrations with his job search when transitioning out of the military.

In July, the Los Angeles Times reported on Maddox’s difficulties with his for-profit school:

After Moses Maddox left the Marine Corps in 2006, he took a sales job with the for-profit University of Phoenix, making up to 100 calls a day to persuade veterans to enroll using their GI Bill benefits.

Only after he enrolled himself did the former corporal discover that the state university he wanted to attend didn’t accept the nine course credits he’d earned at Phoenix.

“Basically, I wasted my GI Bill benefits — just like a lot of other veterans I talk to,” said Maddox, who until recently was a veterans benefits counselor at Palomar College in San Diego County.

Have you had difficulties with your GI Bill benefits and a for-profit school? Tell us your story and get help.