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For-profit Higher Education
The University of Phoenix, which runs an online college popular among military veterans, is under federal investigation for possible deceptive or unfair business practices, its parent company the Apollo Education Group told shareholders Wednesday.
Data released by the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics Thursday show that 3,436 for-profit colleges participated in federal financial aid programs in the just-ended academic year, down 2.6 percent, from 3,527 such institutions two years earlier, in the 2012-13 academic year.
As education companies shrink amid government allegations that they misled students about the value of their degrees, tens of thousands of students may be able to walk away from their obligations, a scale of college-loan forgiveness unprecedented in U.S. history. The unwinding may cost taxpayers billions, touching off debate in Washington about fairness and personal responsibility.
For nonprofit colleges that see serving veterans as an important part of their mission, that poses a challenge: Getting service members fresh out of the military to enroll is often a matter of getting on their radar, and for-profit institutions tend to do that first. The nature of the "exit moment" — the point at which veterans are instructed about their GI Bill benefits — makes it difficult for traditional colleges to get a head start. But with a large group of veterans now preparing to leave the service, nonprofit colleges are looking to close the gap between that exit moment and enrollment.
Perhaps coincidentally, just as big name for-profit companies move into the boot camp world, the Department of Education has signaled its willingness to make traditional student aid available to short-term programs.
The alleged fraud at the heart of the FastTrain case — improperly enrolling students who lack a high school diploma or its equivalent — has been an issue at other Florida for-profit colleges. Billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded financial aid are at stake.
Law schools, graduate programs and undergraduate degrees in such career-oriented majors as social work could use additional scrutiny of their graduates’ abilities to pay off their debts, experts say.
The Obama administration on Tuesday issued new guidance on how aggressively loan collectors should pursue borrowers of federally backed loans who are seeking to erase their debt in bankruptcy.
In a report released Tuesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says it has received more than 1,300 complaints from military borrowers since 2012. Most of the problems stem from military personnel trying to defer loan payments or cap their interest rates while on active duty or after being disabled, as is allowed under the law. But the bureau says many military personnel are getting denied or ignored by companies that handle their loans.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) writes: On July 1, the Department of Education’s long awaited “gainful employment” regulation finally took effect. This rule – which protects students at for-profit colleges from abusive and deceptive practices – is a welcome improvement to a sector that has routinely preyed on veterans, minorities, and the poor.