It’s Time to Hold Crummy Career Colleges Accountable
By Consumers Union on Friday, May 30th, 2014
This week, U.S. News published a great op-ed from our friends at Young Invincibles, a youth-oriented group that advocates for fairness in higher education.
The op-ed, titled “Selling More Debt Than Degrees,” makes a lot of the same points we’ve made in our own posts about how important it is to protect students from career college programs that do little more than saddle them with debts they can’t repay. For-profit career colleges in particular have been known for their aggressive marketing and overstated job placement numbers – in fact, they’ve been investigated and sued for those practices.
Now, there’s a big opportunity to change the system and prevent more students from being duped into signing up for poor-quality programs. This week, the Department of Education finished accepting public comments on its proposed “gainful employment” rule, which will set minimum standards for career colleges. Among other things, the rule will cut off access to federal financial aid dollars if a school’s graduates have too much debt compared with their earnings, or if too many students who leave the program end up defaulting on their student loans.
The Department’s proposed rules will help, but in some ways they don’t go far enough. That’s why we submitted our own comments to suggest ways that the Department could make the rule stronger. We urge the Department to make changes before the rule is final – so that crummy career colleges don’t get to take the money and run, while students are left jobless and in debt with no relief in sight.
Do you or someone you know have an experience taking classes at a career college? Do you take out student loans to pay for it? If so, tell us in the comments.