In many cases these schools charge too much, and they spend too little on instruction. As to admitting students whom the program won't help, sometimes these owners say they just can't predict who will succeed and who won't.
In the for-profit college field, it appears that what works are preppy-sounding family or village names, evoking Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Amherst -- in other words, evoking exclusivity, nurturing, tradition, success, power.
The struggle is far from over to make higher education a place where student and taxpayer interests are placed at the forefront, where honest and effective education enterprises reap the greatest rewards, and where greedy and duplicitous operators are shown the door.
A group of Democratic members are sending a letter this morning calling on the Department of Education to "automatically discharge the debt" of all students who attended campuses run by now-bankrupt Corinthian Colleges, one of the worst actors in the scandalized for-profit college sector.
Governor Brown could bring some additional help to Corinthian victims if, by October 11, he signs a bill currently on his desk.
The fight is far from over. The industry's effort to strike down the Obama gainful employment rule -- a modest measure that would weed out from federal aid eligibility just a small fraction of the programs that leave students with crushing debt -- continues today in Congress and the courts.
The Department of Education already has regulations in place to curb bad behavior at FPCUs. Nonetheless, there is mounting evidence that for-profits are artificially increasing their prices to simply capture student aid.
Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey today announced settlements of her investigations of two large for-profit college chains for unfair and deceptive student recruiting practices. Kaplan will pay $1.375 million to former students, and Lincoln Tech will pay out about $1 million.
Instead of being a model for how a predatory for-profit could become a non-profit, as the Department of Education had publicly hoped, so far ECMC looks like a pioneer in running a predatory non-profit.
Mr. Hansen is fighting to see that some of the same students enrolled on the basis of such abuses can be socked with enormous collection fees that will go in his company's coffers. Of course, Hansen isn't coming up with all his ideas himself.
Recently, Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, and Under Secretary Ted Mitchell held a conference call discussing the Department's plans for debt relief for Corinthian College students as well as to discuss holding other predatory schools accountable.
Gunderson's letter, co-signed by APSCU's board chair, Roger Dalton, Vice President of American National University, opens ominously: "This letter may be as significant as any communication you have received from your Association in many years." The letter paints a dark landscape for the for-profit college sector, and a bleak-ish picture of APSCU's health.
Some of the largest for-profit college companies -- including, last month, DeVry and Kaplan -- have recently left the industry's main trade group. Funded to boost its industry's fortunes, APSCU may instead have contributed to dragging the industry down. Now APSCU itself may be a sinking ship.
Even though the for-profit college industry is now publicly discredited and on the ropes, facing collapsing enrollments, plummeting share prices, and growing federal and state law enforcement investigations, some GOP White House candidates are now brazenly competing for cash in the 2016 for-profit college primary.
I was in northeast Portland over the weekend and decided to stop in at a brewery that Yelp users said not only had good beer but "it's a nonprofit too!" I assumed they just misinterpreted the brewpub's joke about its inadequate revenue. But no.
On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Under Secretary Ted Mitchell had a conference call for reporters to announce the Department's plans to offer debt relief for students from the now-collapsed, predatory Corinthian Colleges.