A Call For Oversight Of Mass. Career Colleges

Career College Central summary:

  • Two top Massachusetts elected officials are trying to tighten regulations on career colleges, arguing some of the schools are leaving students with high debt and without the skills needed to land a good job — all while reaping the benefit of federal student loans. Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has filed a bill she said will protect student borrowers by requiring colleges to assume some of the risk of student loan default.
  • Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, also a Democrat, is proposing new state regulations prohibiting for-profit and occupational schools from using misleading advertising and unfair lending practices. Coakley has also sued a now-shuttered for-profit school, alleging it falsified student enrollment records, attendance and grades to benefit from government-funded student loans while failing to provide course materials and training. Coakley said that while many for-profit schools provide an important service, some use a "predatory model" that advertises heavily to those with access to federal loans, including returning veterans or low-income students.
  • Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, said for-profit colleges are a critical resource for low-income adults trying to improve their education while balancing work, life and children. He said some public officials are driven by "ideological opposition" to private investment in education. "What they're really saying is that if you are poor, you can't go to school," he said. In Massachusetts, he said, the majority of certificates in the construction trades, culinary arts and mechanic and repair technologies are awarded by private-sector schools. He said there are 70 for-profit colleges in the state. Nationwide, more than 3,000 for-profit schools enroll about 4 million students, he said.

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