Last summer, the U.S. Department of Education laid out a set of federal regulations designed to curb the abuses of the worst-acting for-profit college programs — the ones that frequently leave their students with crippling debt and grim job prospects. Even though the watered-down rule was a meager attempt to confront the abuses, the industry went to court, challenged it, and won.
The judge found fault with a single provision, without which the rest of the rule was rendered impotent. And although the judge made clear that the federal government has the right to regulate for-profit programs (saying the Department of Education was right to go “looking for rats in ratholes”), his ruling means that even the worst career-college programs will be allowed to continue producing dismal results for their students.
How bad are these results? New data show that, for example:
Someone seeking an associate degree from the University of Phoenix to become a teacher’s aide can expect to make just shy of $11,000 a year, which is below the poverty line for a single person.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in computer graphics from Denver’s Westwood College would yield slightly more than $19,000 in annual earnings.
The battle over student loans may be behind us (at least for this year), but the battle to protect students is far from over. The predatory practices of for-profit college companies pose a huge threat to students, and require us to be vigilant about providing the nation’s students with access to affordable AND high-quality educational options. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to stay in the loop on how you can help.