For-profit colleges have spent a combined $39.6 million on lobbying efforts since 2007, according to an analysis by The Huffington Post using data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
For-profit colleges have been at the center of investigations by the Senate and Government Accountability Office, revealing deceptive and predatory recruitment practices. For-profit colleges have collected $32 billion from the federal government through programs like Pell Grants, while many students failed to graduate. Among 30 companies investigated, 41.8 percent of revenue went to marketing, recruiting, and to profits while only 17.7 percent towards actual instruction.
Reports from the Education Department also show students from for-profit colleges are twice as likely to default on their student loans as students from public or private non-profit schools. Students at for-profits also tend to borrow more, some end up going $60,000 in debt for two-year associate's degrees. In addition, data from the Education Department shows graduates of for-profits have a tougher time finding full employment compared to other sectors of higher education.
In response to this information, the Obama administration has attempted to crack down on for-profits with new regulations, and the schools have fought back with court filings and heavy lobbying.
The Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Pheonix, spent $1,015,000 lobbying in 2011 alone. The same year, Kaplan spent $1.4 million on lobbying efforts.
The Association of Private Sector Colleges, a key industry trade group, has spent $4.7 million since 2007.
There was a large increase in lobbying in 2010 and 2011 as the Obama administration began to propose and enact new regulations attempting to curb abuses by for-profit schools.
Click through the slideshow below to see how much for-profits have spent each year on lobbying:
In 2008, lobbyists raised just about $4 million for for-profit education.
In 2009, lobbying stayed roughly the same, at about $3.3 million dollars.
In 2010, the Obama administration cracked down on for-profit colleges, triggering a massive lobbying blitz.
2011 was the site of even more lobbying for the for-profit college industrial-complex, about $14 million dollars worth. The result? A watered-down Department of Education policy for the burgeoning industry, which largely protected its federal aid.
2012 isn't over yet, but lobbyists have already raised almost $6 million dollars to further for-profit interests. Key parts of the Department of Education's for-profit regulation has been struck down in federal court.