They may not have ivy-covered campuses or rowing teams, but for-profit colleges that award degrees in nontraditional studies such as herbal sciences and golf management have hired the Ivy League of lobbyists to wage a high-dollar battle against federal rules that they claim could put them out of business.
"There has been an all-hands-on-deck," said one lobbyist hired by a for-profit school, joking that there were so many lobbyists roaming Capitol Hill on the issue that "they are stumbling over each other."
"There may well be a shortage of lobbyists if they keep up the pattern of hiring every former Member of Congress and K Street lobbying shop," said Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.
Nassirian has been an outspoken critic of for-profit colleges, which he and others argue are making handsome profits by encouraging students to go deeply in debt with federally backed loans for programs that are of disputed merit.
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