For-Profit Colleges Ordered To Be Transparent

For-profit colleges will have to be more forthcoming about information they’ve considered proprietary up to now. Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation yesterday that requires for-profit colleges to inform prospective students about their accreditation status, salaries, student loan default rates, and whether graduates have found work in the fields they were trained for.

“We want students to make informed choices before they make sizeable investments in their future,” said Assemblymember Marty Block, a San Diego Democrat who introduced AB 2296.  “The basic information required under this bill helps make students smart consumers, and will especially assist veterans as they seek to earn degrees and career training for their transition to civilian life.”

Veterans groups were especially supportive of the bill. They say the colleges aggressively recruit vets because of their GI benefits. In a letter urging Gov. Brown to sign the bill, a coalition including the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America-California State Council, and the VFW-Department of California, wrote that many of the colleges aggressively recruit veterans, “not only depleting the veteran’s GI benefits and incurring student debt, but leaving them with a substandard degree.”

Although one in ten students in California attends a for-profit college, those schools account for two-thirds of all student loan defaulters, according to the Institute for College Access and Success. Meanwhile, the six-year graduation rate for baccalaureate degrees is 22 percent, compared to 55 percent at public colleges and 65 percent at nonprofit private schools.


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