For-profit colleges are beginning to launch an all-out war to fight what they see as unfair attacks from such critics as community colleges and the federal government.
Fort Lauderdale-based Keiser University sued a Jacksonville community college on Monday, claiming administrators there maligned its school. At the same time, a group representing 19 other for-profit schools released a study slamming recruiting practices and student achievement at community colleges, which compete for many of the same students and government dollars.
And last week, more than 2,000 career college students and supporters attended a rally in Washington, D.C., to protest proposed regulations that could strip the for-profit colleges of much of their federal aid.
"The misinformation is just extraordinary, and we have been absolutely miserable at defending ourselves," said Keiser chancellor Arthur Keiser, who also leads the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, the industry lobbying group. "Finally, I think that’s beginning to change."
The sector has come under fire in the past year, as Senate hearings and federal government reports have raised questions about recruiting practices, student debt and the large amounts of federal dollars the schools receive. For-profits say they are being unfairly singled out.