Stop For-Profit Colleges From Taking Advantage of Students

To: Speaker of the House John Boehner and Chairman of the House Committee on Education & the Workforce John Kline

Stop For-Profit Colleges From Taking Advantage of Students
101,836
of 200,000 signatures
Campaign created by Congressman Mark Takano Icon-email

Taxpayer-funded federal financial aid should not go to for-profit college programs that consistently leave students with unmanageable debt and worthless degrees. We urge you to oppose HR 2637 – the “Academic Freedom Through Regulatory Relief Act” – which would shut down the Department of Education’s effort to rein in some of the worst abuses in the for-profit college industry such as aggressive marketing, saddling students with unsustainable debt, and providing useless degrees, and leave students without even basic protections.

Why is this important?

As a high school teacher for more than 20 years before I went to Washington, I know firsthand what students in my community need from postsecondary education. They need access to affordable degree and certificate programs that lead directly to good jobs. 

The for-profit college industry enrolls nearly 10% of all post-secondary school students and receives about 25% of all Pell Grants and federal student loans, yet the industry accounts for nearly half of student loan defaults. 

Numerous investigations have revealed massive amounts of waste, fraud, and abuse in the industry, including deceptive and aggressive recruiting of students, false or inflated job placement rates, and dismal completion rates. Some schools have gone so far as to enroll people who are homeless, enroll students without their consent, and use tactics that invoke “pain” and “fear” to pressure students into enrolling.
 
In addition, some for-profit colleges receive close to 80% of their revenues from taxpayer dollars. Taxpayer-funded federal financial aid should not go to programs that consistently leave students with unmanageable debt and worthless degrees.

Thankfully, the Department of Education is currently working on new rules that would eliminate subsidies to so-called “career-oriented” higher-education programs that fail to prepare students for the workforce and whose graduates have high debt-to-income ratios and low loan-repayment rates. 

Seeing the writing on the wall, the lobbyists who represent the for-profit education industry began working with their conservative Republican allies to move a bill through Congress that would bar the Department of Education from setting these rules, and actually roll back basic disclosure requirements. 

Republicans are sending a message to the Department of Education that Congress doesn’t want a strong set of rules for regulating for-profit colleges. With your help, we can  urge enough law makers to oppose this legislation and send Congress our own message, that the for-profit industry's days of loading students down with debt before sending them out the door with dead-end diplomas are over. They're going to need a new business plan.

Join me today in speaking out against the Republicans’ efforts to protect the for-profit college industry and leave students without basic protections by sending this petition to Speaker of the House John Boehner and Chairman of the House Committee on Education & the Workforce John Kline. 

Thank you for standing with me.

- Congressman Mark Takano

REFERENCES

http://www.mndaily.com/politics/national-politics/congress/2013/08/02/house-vote-bill-limiting-us-department-education-regu

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/education/harkin-report-condemns-for-profit-colleges.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2&
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