Domestic, For-Profit, Legislation, Required, Student Loans - Written by on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 21:39 - 0 Comments

Harkin Not Backing Down on For-Profit Reform

photo: flickr user Phil Roeder

by Elbert Chu

Just when the for-profit education industry thought it had cleared the legislative minefield that became a slap on the wrist, it seems Senator Tom Harkin was just getting warmed up. Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and has been investigating for over a year. Quad City Times reports:

After holding a series of public hearings over the past year in Washington, D.C., Harkin, D-Iowa, just held his final one last week and is beginning to write legislation to change how for-profit schools are funded.

“This is an industry that needs some very careful oversight and some regulation or changes in law to make this industry more accountable to both students and to taxpayers,” Harkin said. “The information we’ve uncovered, it’s just really startling.

“We are already starting to prepare legislation because this is an area that just cries out for something to be done.”

In the course of Harkin’s investigations, he uncovered some downright ugly numbers from schools with a presence in his home state like Kaplan University and Bridgepoint‘s Ashford University.

Harkin has released three reports as a result of his investigation. His findings showed that more than 87 percent of total revenues from the 30 schools under investigation came directly from the federal government, but 57 percent of the students enrolled between 2008 and 2009 dropped out without a diploma.

He said at least a half-million students dropped out between 2009 and 2010.

Harkin also said these colleges account for 10 percent of higher education students in the U.S., but they receive nearly 25 percent of the financial aid budget, which accounted for $30 billion last year.


Senator Harkin maintains a website with recordings of undercover visits, documents and videos from the investigation into federal dollars going to for-profit schools online.

Full article at Quad City Times.

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