For years, the U.S. Senate has investigated the recruiting practices of for-profit colleges. The businesses that run so-called career schools depend heavily on federal student aid, cater to low-income learners, and offer flexibility to those who must work while going to class.
Some of these colleges have weak graduation rates. Senators heard troubling testimony from students and employees in 2010, and issued a report that showed some of the schools routinely promised more than they delivered.
Although students were left with huge debt and little chance to get the jobs they were seeking, data presented by some colleges indicated greater success rates to potential applicants. While scrutinizing the industry, senators discovered a funding loophole that, for the sake of students and taxpayers, deserves to be closed by legislation introduced by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.
Federal law says that for-profit colleges and universities may not receive more than 90 percent of their revenue from student aid programs in the U.S. Department of Education. Although the rest must come from sources outside the federal government, not counted toward the 90 percent are education dollars from the post-9/11 GI Bill.
Between 2009 and 2011, eight of the top 10 recipients of GI Bill education benefits were for-profit schools, accounting for $1 billion in such aid. This gaping loophole encourages schools to target military veterans as applicants.
That has to stop. One sure way is to enact Senator Durbin's bill.