MSNBC: Why students suffer at for-profit schools, and how to protect them

Career College Central Summary:

  • These are interesting times in the for-profit college world.
  • On October 30, the Department of Education issued long-awaited Gainful Employment rules designed to curb abuses by these schools. Then, following Tuesday’s Republican victories in the midterm races, the industry got a bounce back: In light of the elections, bank advisers on Wall Street told investors that for-profit schools might again become rich investment prospects.
  • What it ultimately means remains to be seen. But there are some things we know right now.
  • First, the new rules do put us in a (slightly) better place. Focused on tightening the debt-to-income ratio of for-profit graduates, the rules require schools to show that students’ annual loan payments don’t exceed 20% of their discretionary income or 8% of their total earnings. The Department of Education says that 1,400 schools nationwide will fail this new standard.
  • In the brutal matrices of the for-profit world, this marks an improvement.
  • As a member of the committee that recommended stronger rules to the Department of Education, I see much room for even more protection of students. For one, the administration could have put in place the rules committee’s recommendation that the fates of for-profit dropouts be measured as well as the fates of graduates of these schools.
  • This might seem like an academic distinction, but it has real implications considering the fact that most for-profit students never graduate. If we don’t factor in all students, we can never have a full measurement of how these schools do or don’t meet their promises.

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MSNBC

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