Federal loans and grants don't come close to covering Phoenix's high prices, and like other big for-profits, the University of Phoenix does not normally provide anything like the level of in-house scholarship funding to lower-income students that many nonprofit and state colleges offer.
The for-profit college industry is lobbying furiously to prevent the Obama Administration from issuing a strong "gainful employment" rule that would cut off aid to career training programs that consistently leave students with insurmountable debt.
Despite President Obama's obvious awareness of the egregious, widespread nature of the problem, his own team may be on the verge of failing to effectively implement a key measure needed to hold for-profit colleges accountable for such abuses.
America's for-profit colleges are receiving as much as $33 billion in a single year from your tax money, and billions more from the pockets of students, a lot of whom are left deep in debt and jobless from their encounters with predatory schools.
Orman's decision to join the University of Phoenix faculty and thus give her seal of approval to the institution does a disservice to Americans across the country who count on her for unvarnished and useful financial advice.
Can students really be taught critical thinking, civics, and citizenship skills in a standardized format that values conformity? Will relying on MOOCs and automation in the long-term turn professors into "delivery managers" and students into automatons and passive consumers rather than citizens?
Those of us in the higher education online marketplace have seen the "for-profits" a bit similarly, as though they had created so much momentum that there was simply no way to stop their progress. Then 2012 came.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley says she's expanded her investigation of whether for-profit colleges have deceived students in her state about their prices, graduation rates and job placement records.
As the truth catches up with the major for-profit colleges, it appears these companies are doubling down on a Mitt Romney victory as their last best hope to retain unquestioned access to a torrent of taxpayer money.
For-profit higher education could help our people and our economy -- if the federal financial aid system were structured so that schools earned higher profits by actually helping students, not by ripping them off.