In Obvious PR Move, Eisman to Pay Off Issa’s Student Loans

Senators skeptical of for-profit education found an ideal poster child for their showdown with the industry last week: a single mother named Yasmine Issa who testified that attending a career college had left her unable to find a job in her field and saddled with debt.

Turns out Ms. Issa will gain more from the experience than a chance to warn others to avoid her fate.

Steven Eisman, a hedge-fund manager who delivered a scathing assessment of for-profit education at the same Senate hearing, announced on Monday that he would pay off Ms. Issa’s $17,300 debt.

Monday’s news follows an unusual "challenge" that Mr. Eisman laid down after the Senate hearing. The hedge-fund manager had called up a Chronicle reporter on Friday to say he would pay half of Ms. Issa’s loans if the Career College Association, a trade group that represents institutions like the one she attended, would cover the other half.

Harris N. Miller, president of the association, did not directly respond to the specifics of Mr. Eisman’s challenge when asked for comment by The Chronicle. Instead, he issued a 348-word statement describing how his group is "working with public policy leadership in Washington every day to continue to find ways to improve student-lending policies." He also attacked Mr. Eisman’s motives, saying he stands to gain by talking down for-profit colleges at the Senate hearings.

"While one has to have sympathy for any student or former student or parent having problems repaying his/her debts," Mr. Miller wrote in an e-mail, "one also has to have sympathy for the 2.8 million students whose educations Mr. Eisman so blithely and blindly disparages for his own financial benefit."

Mr. Eisman, told of Mr. Miller’s reply, said on Monday that he would pay off Ms. Issa’s whole debt if he had not heard anything else from the association by the end of the week.

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