Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

For-Profit Colleges' Graduation Rates at Center of Senate Panel Storm

4 years ago
  0 Comments Say Something  »
Text Size
A Senate committee sent a clear message to for-profit colleges last week: With drop-out rates averaging 57 percent, too many career schools are are gambling with students' lives and American tax dollars.
The hearing by the Committee on Health Labor Education and Pensions on Thursday was the third in a series to shed light on an industry accused of taking advantage of low-income applicants by turning out more unpaid loans than graduates.
A study prepared by the committee reported 94.4 percent of students attending for-profit schools take out loans, compared to 16.6 percent attending community college and 44.3 percent enrolled in traditional four-year public schools. Much of that money comes from federal Pell Grants, which help low-income applicants attend schools of higher education, but is often never returned if they don't graduate.
For-profit colleges' high dropout rates and steep tuition costs have put a heavy burden on Pell Grants, leading Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to create what he calls "gainful employment" regulations to reign in federal loans given to for-profit college students. The rules, yet to take effect, would require for-profit schools to prove a certain percentage of their graduates find jobs upon graduation.
Committee Chairman Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who is in favor of gainful employment regulations, said the bottom line is this: "For students enrolling in for-profit schools, graduation with a degree is a possibility, but a debt without a diploma is a probability. Going to college should not be like going to a casino, where the odds are stacked against you and the house usually wins."
But critics say the committee has presented only one side of the for-profit college debate. Among them: Republican senators, employers and for-profit students and graduates who protested gainful employment regulations in front of the Capitol Wednesday.
As mid-term election near, each issue becomes more partisan -- and regulating for-profit education is no exception. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was among three Republicans at the hearing, each of whom accused the panel of being biased in favor of the regulations.
Before excusing himself from the hearing, McCain said, "This debate exemplifies the sharp divisions between our two parties and two philosophies of government. And hopefully, maybe in January, it seems pretty clear that we will have a different agenda for this committee and the United States Senate."
Witnesses invited to testify only presented the case against the colleges, and the discussion centered on dropout rates rather than the successes of those who earn diplomas.
"We're focused on the wrong thing, Mr. Chairman," said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.). "I hope that at some point we will look at the graduation rate of our students and whether they get across the goal line and get that certificate that angles them to a greater future."
Not presented at the hearing were two separate studies by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools and the Coalition for Education Success which report that among for-profit college students who did receive their degrees in 2009, an average of 75 percent found jobs within six months of graduation.
One witness, Danielle Johnson, said her training to be a nurse at a for-profit college in Iowa has not been adequate. She worries that other graduates are entering careers where their incompetence has potential danger.
"Coming out and working in a medical field," Johnson said, "I don't feel confident in working with people's lives."
In the audience listening to Johnson was Laurie Chapman, a recruiting specialist who supplies IT support to the Army and NASA. Chapman said she fills more than 40 percent of her positions with graduates from for-profit schools such as Virginia College and ITT Technical Institute. She disagreed that the graduates are inadequate.
"That has not been my experience at all," she said. "Every graduate and student who I have put to work from the colleges I'm associated with has been able to go in and work from Day One."
Discussion over the gainful employment regulations will be stalled until the Senate reconvenes for the lame duck session in November. Regulations are not due to be enacted until 2011.
Outbrain - The Most Trusted Content Discovery Platform

Get Your Content Discovered.

Promote your content on premium websites

Learn More ›

Outbrain Amplify:
Get your content discovered

Your content will be promoted on the web's largest and most respected media properties, including CNN.com, Slate and ESPN. We make sure it's seen precisely when people will find it most interesting.

Learn More

Outbrain Engage: The solution for a modern publisher

Outbrain Engage is a full stack software solution that empowers an entire media organization to more effectively manage its online content and programming experience.

Learn More

The world's largest content discovery platform

We bring together premium publishers and marketers of all sizes (including many of the world's leading brands) into the world's largest and most vibrant content marketplace. Learn more about Outbrain ›

561 Million

The global audience reached by Outbrain each month*

190 Billion

The total recommendations we serve consumers monthly

80%

Of the world’s leading brands use Outbrain

* Audience reach according to comScore, September 2014. Leading brands via Ad Age DataCenter / Kantar Media, 2014.

Andy Blau
We selected Outbrain not only because the revenues were higher than others, but because its engine drives better recommendations than others.
Andy Blau
Senior Vice President, Group General Manager
Time Inc.
Dan Horowitz
It's less about buying traffic than it is about reaching the right people with relevant headlines to get them to your content.
Dan Horowitz
EVP and Senior Partner
Fleishman-Hillard Digital
Katrina Craigwell
Our goal is always to deliver content that adds value to the conversations being held by the end user. Outbrain allows us to do just that.
Katrina Craigwell
Global Manager of Digital Marketing
GE
Bailey Foote
The fact that we’re able to drive these kinds of transactions with consumers at scale and with increasing efficiency has made Outbrain paramount to our marketing strategy.
Bailey Foote
E-commerce Manager
The Line
Neal Moore
You cannot leave it to chance that someone will find and engage with your content. Outbrain can put your content in the midst of the world’s most prestigious publications.
Neal Moore
CEO
Click2View
Zach Zavos
Having links to our content appearing directly on premium publisher sites helped us establish our brand.
Zach Zavos
Co-Founder
Conversant Media
Mike Brito
Outbrain is one of those [critical] components helping us deliver the right messages to the right contingent at massive scale and in real time to counter a crisis.
Mike Brito
Group Director
WCG

A global footprint of service

We operate offices in 11 global territories and we partner with publishers and marketers in over 55 countries, including the U.S., UK, France, Brazil, India and Japan. Come join us ›

Our New Approach to Comments

In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss – we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around. Please read our Help and Feedback section for more info.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum Comment Moderation Enabled. Your comment will appear after it is cleared by an editor.

2 Comments

Filter by:
sfamilyent

So, what do the Republicans think should be done? I mean, if our tax dollars are being funneled into for profit colleges that do not turn out graduates to fill our employment needs for higher skilled workers, then what do we do? I don't see a problem with tying the use of Pell Grants to a school's graduation and job placement performance... It seems like a better use of my tax dollars...

October 04 2010 at 1:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
catalogsplus

If I choose to pursue on-going education, it is up to me to research the field and job prospects in a variety of situation, including economic downturns. For profit and not-for-profit schools may offer job placement assistance, but they cannot guarantee you a job. The last thing I want is Congress inserting their noses further in our lives when they are failing so badly ar running the nation. Get to work on creating jobs instead of blaming schools for not being able to find students jobs! Problem solved.

October 04 2010 at 1:36 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Follow Politics Daily

  • Comics
robert-and-donna-trussell
CHAOS THEORY
Featuring political comics by Robert and Donna TrussellMore>>
  • Woman UP Video
politics daily videos
Weekly Videos
Woman Up, Politics Daily's Online Sunday ShowMore»
politics daily videos
TV Appearances
Showcasing appearances by Politics Daily staff and contributors.More>>