College graduates, Continuing Education, Domestic, For-Profit, Legislation, Minorities, equity, and access, Recruitment, Required, Student Loans, University & College - Written by on Saturday, August 13, 2011 16:09 - 0 Comments

Debate: How to Regulate For-Profit Colleges

photo: flickr user Simon Blackley

by Elbert Chu


New York Times hosts an online debate between different perspectives of the for-profit education regulation debate. The comments for the pieces are quite extensive as well and worth a read. Here’s some notable snippets from the debaters:


The ‘Pain Funnel’
Jack Conway, attorney general of Kentucky

Recent evidence has uncovered aggressive recruiting tactics designed to pressure students into enrolling, with one investigation indicating that for-profit recruiters are taught a series of questions called the “pain funnel” to entice students into signing. These are the kinds of abuses that attorneys general are uniquely positioned to investigate and stop.

We are especially concerned with potentially deceptive or fraudulent advertising and recruiting tactics. Namely, we are asking four questions about for-profits: Do they accurately represent transferability of credits? Do they adequately inform students that their cost often far exceeds that of public institutions? Do they fraudulently advertise expectations of future employment while hiding default rates? And finally, do they properly respond to complaints?

The Real Outrage
Gaye Tuchman, sociologist, University of Connecticut

Yes, it is pretty terrible that students at for-profit colleges pay back loans at an abysmal rate. But it is more appalling that so few colleges can meet the Education Trust’s basic criteria for maximizing the graduation rates of low-income students.

Rather than worrying about the pay-back rate of loans, our national and state governments should be decreasing costs to attend nonprofit public or private colleges, especially for low-income students and for adults with jobs and family responsibilities. When it comes to college, the poor should not pay proportionally more.

The Rules Don’t Go Far Enough
Osamudia R. James, University of Miami

By civic and economic measures, for-profit higher education outcomes are disappointing. Compared with students of similar socioeconomic and academic profiles at nonprofit institutions, students at for-profit institutions have higher debt burdens, are less likely to graduate, account for disproportionately high numbers of student loan defaults (for which taxpayers are on the hook), reap weaker monetary returns on their education and are less likely to vote or participate in political activities.

Unfairly Singled Out
Harry C. Alford and Lanny J. Davis, National Black Chamber of Commerce

The secretary of education, Arne Duncan, should suspend the carrying out of this rule until Congress can evaluate and carefully review the issue. Congress must step in to create reform that is fair and effective and a remedy for colleges across the board — not just the career college sector.

Playing Favorites
Daniel L Bennett, Center for College Affordability and Productivity

Default rates have risen for all of postsecondary education, as the national cohort default rate increased to 7 percent in 2008 from 4.5 percent in 2003. Yet the majority of institutions have been given a free pass. Recent surveys suggest that students attending all types of institutions have similar expectations: to increase their earning potential. So why should we regulate career and traditional education differently?


Check them all out at New York Times.


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