For-Profits And Federal Finances

LAS VEGAS – Federal budget woes will dominate the ongoing policy debate over for-profit colleges, said Steven Gunderson, president of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, the industry's primary trade group. And as a result, he said, for-profit institutions should reduce their reliance on revenue from federal financial aid.

“There’s not enough money,” said Gunderson, who was speaking here at the association's annual meeting. “We can’t survive on Title IV funding in an era of deficit reduction.”

Gunderson was part of a panel that tackled the question of whether partisan politics have driven the crackdown on for-profits. But the former congressman from Wisconsin predicted that money, or the lack thereof, would be more important than ideology in setting the Obama administration’s higher education policy agenda going forward.

As for Congress, Gunderson, who took over as the association’s president earlier this year, said for-profits aren’t a big-ticket issue. He said the industry should focus its attention on higher education subcommittees in the House and Senate rather than trying to sway rank-and-file lawmakers.

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