In the happiest scenario, a graduate of one of these programs may show up at your house to repair your air conditioner, or visit your business to deal with a computer problem. Trade schools have their success stories, and they are eager to have us know about them.
But too often you'll find former students staffing the drive-through windows of fast-food restaurants, while shouldering massive amounts of student debt.
The abusive practices of this sector have been well documented. They recruit low-income students, many with questionable academic abilities, and help them obtain federal grants and loans. They hold out the promise of jobs that are unlikely to materialize at salaries that will never be attained.
Deception is rampant. There is no way Riley should have been able to pile up
The for-profit sector receives about one-fifth of federal grants and loans available to help people pay for college. It is responsible for almost half of all student loan defaults.
Everybody takes it on the chin except for the schools themselves. They collect their money regardless of the student's success or failure.
How is this permitted to go on?
Well, the for-profit companies have been as aggressive about lobbying
And although Obama and his education secretary,
Recently, though, some of the companies have reported to regulators that a group of state attorneys general have requested information on student recruitment practices, employment statistics for graduates and student lending activities.
Assuming the state probes aren't simply window dressing, they have the potential to result in the companies agreeing to cease abusive practices and, importantly, cash settlements to debt-ridden former students.
In another sign that the days of operating with impunity may be ending, the federal
Also, the Obama administration is taking another crack at establishing a gainful employment rule.
Weak-kneed enforcement has enabled the for-profit college sector to shrug off its outrageous practices with callous disregard for taxpayers and the many people who leave its campuses worse off than when they enrolled. Now, the companies and their investors are reportedly worried. It is past time to turn the tables.
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