By Colin Seeberger
You may have heard about some of the predatory for-profit colleges that drown students in debt and fail to prepare them for the workforce. They bombard inboxes with glossy pamphlets, telling potential recruits how amazing their schools are and air flashy commercials suggesting that students who attend their programs will be able to get a career as an astronaut.
But here’s what they don’t tell people they ruthlessly target: while roughly one in ten higher education students attends a for-profit program, for-profit college students account for nearly half of all federal student loan defaulters. Something just doesn’t add up.
After years of investigations by the Departments of Education and Justice, among others, some schools, like those owned by Corinthian Colleges and Education Management Corporation (EDMC), will close their doors. Corinthian’s decision to close its remaining 28 campuses came after some 946 cases of misrepresentation were discovered by federal investigators. EDMC – who has faced similar allegations of deception – announced earlier this month that it will be closing 15 of its Art Institute campuses over the next 18 months after having lost over $2 billion in earnings over three years and its stock fell to just 23 cents.
The takeaway from the last few weeks should be clear: business as usual is over. Predatory schools that take advantage of students and taxpayers will suffer significant legal and financial repercussions.
Unfortunately, tens of thousands of students are learning the hard way that they were in many cases lied to about their program’s performance. Many have taken on mountains of student debt or have incomplete or worthless degrees. That’s not right.
Young Invincibles has joined several policy and advocacy groups calling on the U.S. Department of Education to forgive the debt of students that attended predatory, failing programs. And because state and federal investigators found systemic patterns of deceit by Corinthian and EDMC, students should not bear the burden of proving that they were individually wronged. Finally, these students shouldn’t have to give up on chasing their dreams – they should be eligible for financial aid to attend a program that is willing to uphold its end of the bargain, not make billions at the expense of students and taxpayers.
Corinthian colleges and EDMC are not the only for-profit education providers failing students – the list goes on and on. We don’t want you to be next. If you attended a predatory for-profit school, please let us know. At Young Invincibles, we can connect you with the resources available to help you get a fair shot at justice.
No one should have the dream of earning a college degree turned into a nightmare because a predatory school is out to make a fast buck.