SLATE: The Government Created a Monster in Corinthian Colleges. Now We’re Paying for Its Damage.
Career College Central Summary:
U.S. taxpayers are about to pay a lot of money to atone for Corinthian College’s sins. Monday, the Department of Education announced that it would forgive debts belonging to thousands of former students who attended the for-profit education chain, which tumbled into bankruptcy last month after a long and predatory run.
This is a win for decency. It is also symbolic of Washington’s abject failure to regulate the world of higher education during the past decade.
Corinthian was as large as it was vile. At the height of its money-sucking powers, the company enrolled more than 110,000 students and operated almost 120 campuses in the U.S. and Canada, which ran under the names WyoTech, Everest, and Heald. Like most of the for-profit colleges that swelled in size during the late 2000s, it subsided largely on a diet of federal grants and student loans, borrowed by naive, low-income undergrads who it convinced to pay tens of thousands of dollars by dangling the promise of a decent paying career. The degrees, of course, often turned out to be worthless; of the 30 for-profit college companies that a Senate committee investigated in 2012, Corinthian had the second-highest student loan default rate.
Eventually, it became clear that Corinthian had not merely targeted vulnerable recruits and wrung them for cash, but had also lied to them. That, in the end, was its undoing. Last year, the attorneys general of California and Massachusetts sued the company, alleging that it had it misrepresented its job-placement statistics and training programs to new recruits. Its collapse began in earnest once the Department of Education put a hold on its access to federal loan dollars, “after the company failed to address concerns about its practices, including falsifying job placement data used in marketing claims to prospective students.”
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