Office of Planning and Budgeting

Federal Scrutiny of For-Profit Colleges Turns to Recruitment of Veterans

Senator Tom Harkin, Chairman of the US Senate HELP Committee, has released another report on the practices of the for-profit higher education industry, this time focusing on whether or not such institutions are taking advantage of US veterans in an effort to capture newly increased GI Bill education benefits (read our earlier posts on this issue: Senator Tom Harkin and the HELP Committee Continue to Investigate For-Profit Colleges, and  Under Federal Fire, For-Profit College Point Finger at Publics).

The New York Times published Wednesday a detailed article on this topic, Profits and Scrutiny for Colleges Courting Veterans, that included a host of primary source documents.

Senator Harkin has moved a hearing on the topic from early December to a yet to be determined day in early 2011. Because the Senate will remain in Democratic control, Harkin will continue as Chairman of the HELP Committee and is expected to carry forward his investigation of this rapidly expanding sector of higher education, which relies almost entirely on federal student aid dollars to generate large profits for shareholders while many students drop out  and face high levels of education loan debt. Some speculate that recent Republican gains in the Senate and House may hamper the likelihood of passing strong regulatory legislation in the coming year.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Education is in the process of implementing new regulatory rules aimed at tightening oversight on the sector (see previous post: New Federal Higher Ed Regulation Published Today).

We will continue to monitor this ongoing story, as well as some calls for the federal government to extend their scrutiny to traditional institutions.


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