For profit colleges have lots of dirty little secrets they want to hide from the public. Focused more on dollars than minds, most for-profit colleges charge unsuspecting students much more than private non-profit colleges; their students get deep in debt and are often left empty handed. Apparently, a student’s education can be wasted but not a dime in the for-profit college world.
If “countless low-income and minority students”, many of whom are single parents are heavy enrollees in for-profit schools, as Democrats and members of the Congressional Black Caucus noted in letters to the Department of Education, why are these same LIBERAL members of Congress blocking a crackdown on the for-profit college scam? I thought Democrats are supposed to be protectors of the poor and minorities? Last week, 58 Democrats, including Pelosi, joined nearly every House Republican except four and voted for The Foxx-Kline-Hastings-McCarthy amendment to HR 1, to stop the regulation.
An August 2010 Government Accountability Report (GAO) report of 15 for-profit colleges found they engaged in deceptive practices, including encouraging students to lie on financial aid forms and “exaggerating” earning potential these associate degrees or certificates give students. One undercover applicant wanted a message therapy certificate and was told by a for-profit college that its program was a great value at $14,000. But according to GAO, the same program would cost $520 at a community college.
Why does this matter? Because many for-profit colleges are reaping HUGE taxpayer dollars in profits from federal financial aid loans and not giving students a good return on their investment.
In 2009, students at for-profit colleges received more than $4 billion in Pell Grants and more than $20 billion in federal loans from the Department of Education. According to the Career College Association, which represents for-profit colleges, 43% of its students are minorities. Not only are more blacks and Hispanics getting hoodwinked into debt for certificates and associate degrees, which have limited job buying power, according to the Department of Education only about half of these student borrowers are paying back their loans compared to 88% at private non-profit colleges.
The Department of Education wants to stop the swindling. Federal law requires colleges receiving financial aid for “career education programs” to “prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.” Last year, the Department of Education issued its Gainful Employment rule which will require for-profit colleges to prove their students can get work after completing programs or be ineligible to receive federal student loans. This is to prevent students being sandbagged by deceptive marketing practices and left with flimsy degrees and a mountain of debt.
The Department of Education expects to issue the final regulation early this year but a band of Democrats along with Republicans wants to block meaningful reform to protect for-profit schools and possibly donations to their campaigns. The Foxx-Kline-Hastings-McCarthy amendment to HR1 (FY2011 Continuing Appropriations Act) stops the administration from implementing the new regulation. Republicans Virginia Fox (R-NC) and John Kline (R-MN) are the Republicans who joined Democrats in sponsoring the amendment.
Coincidentally, members of Congress from states where for-profit colleges operate were some of the first to support the amendment: Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Ed Towns (D-NY), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Jason Altmire (D-PA), Robert Brady (D-PA), and Andre Carson (D-IN).
Congressional Black Caucus members also voted for the amendment. They include: Hastings, Towns, Carson, Payne, Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Charlie Rangel (D-NY). If one of the CBC’s goals is to “close the achievement and opportunity gaps in education,” why would its members be against the Department of Education’s program? Could campaign donations from for-profit colleges to CBC members have something to do with it?
This is yet another example of Democrats not practicing the race politics of what they preach that they care about Blacks and other minority groups. Democrat policies continue to enslave Blacks economically, as evidenced by this amendment. Yet, every election cycle liberal politicians run on campaign promises to help lift blacks out of their impoverished state. Many blacks fall for this promise, voting en masse for Democrats, only to have the Donkey party throw them under the bus time and time again.
It isn’t in the Democrat party’s best interest for more blacks to become educated or economically empowered because then what campaign promises would Democrats have left to lure the black vote. Black people: Wake up!