Lobbyist for For-profit College Likens Senator Harkin’s Efforts to ‘Jihad’

Today, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) kicked off its "Hill Day and Policy Forum," in Washington, D.C. The day is designed to lobby against proposed regulations by the Department of Education that seek to increase accountability of for-profit schools.

These regulations, known as "gainful employment," seek to bring increased accountability to for-profit career colleges by limiting federal aid to programs that have high default rates or disproportionate debt-to-income ratios. APSCU’s official position on these regulations has been that they "would severely limit choice in higher education, and yet would do nothing to prevent ‘bad actors.’" [Disclosure: The advocacy arm of Campus Progress has strongly supported the proposed regulations and this publication has previously run articles critical of the for-profit education industry.]

The three-day lobbying program offers separate agendas for students and "non-student" attendees. The non-student track has much more high-profile speakers, including Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.); former members of Congress: “Hon. Henry Bonilla, Hon. Vic Fazio, Hon. Tim Hutchinson, Hon. Toby Moffett”; and Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training Administration at the Department of Labor Jane Oates.

Fazio is a Former California congressman and lobbyist for Akin, Grump, Strauss, Hauer, & Feld LLP, a law firm that has lobbied on behalf of for-profit giant Kaplan University, which is actively opposing the regulations. Kaplan spent $350,000 on federal lobbying in the third quarter of 2010, $100,000 of that through Akin Gump, and $270,000 in the second quarter, $90,000 at Akin Gump, according to an analysis by Inside Higher Ed.

Following the group’s #HILLDAY2011 hashtag on Twitter, we came acrossa re-tweet by APSCU’s official Twitter account of a tweet by the editor of the website Career College Central, Kevin Kuzma. The tweet states that during a panel at Hill Day, speaker Victor A. Fazio likened Senator Tom Harkin’s efforts to reign in for-profit colleges to “jihad.”

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