Education Secretary DeVos Kowtows to Predatory “Universities”

Education Secretary DeVos Kowtows to Predatory “Universities”

For-profit universities have largely been a blight on the educational landscape since their inception. People who, for whatever reason, can’t afford community college or state 4-year education have been conned into going to for-profit education institutions for far too long.

Students are attracted by the glitzy fliers and commercials promising easy degrees and high paying jobs. The reality at the end of the rainbow is far from this expected reality, however. Students end up saddled with often unmanageable amounts of debt.

Once in office, Secretary DeVos wasted no time in overturning the work done by the Obama administration to protect those borrowers who have fallen prey to these universities. For those that attended Corinthian Colleges or ITT Tech, students are paying for degrees from educational institutions that no longer exist.

The numbers speak for themselves. While for-profit institutions constitute only a small percentage of the total number of schools out there, a full third of student loan defaults come from students who hailed from these schools. That’s staggering.

In light of this, 18 States have sued Secretary DeVos to overturn her policies.

During the Obama administration, steps had been taken to ensure that for-profit institutions that are still around must toe the line in order to keep receiving federal funding in the form of grants and student-loan guarantees. Those schools whose graduates falter in the job market and are unable to repay their debt will be punished, incentivizing real steps to improve all aspects of the school’s education and placement lest it be shut down. These in-roads into addressing the problems are being reigned-in or arrested completely, much to the glee of these offending schools.

The reality is that these bachelors, masters, and even doctorate degrees are sometimes not worth the paper they’re printed on. These schools relied heavily upon recruiters to entice students to join these for-profit universities. The New England Institute of Art in Brookline, MA, for example, had to pay a $95 million dollar fine, through their parent company, due to the aggressive use of recruiters and they are not the exception.

For those in the know, it’s much like the mortgage crisis of the last decade. The writing is on the wall and people with any semblance of common sense can clearly see the fraud being perpetrated. The question is, will our elected officials orchestrate the correct steps to prevent further damage from being done against marginalized students and taxpayers as a whole? At present, all progress is at a standstill, leaving many thousands of former and current students in a compromising position under the weight of their student debt and overpriced degrees, the likes of which they are unlikely to easily escape.