With help from Washington, the for-profit college industry is loading up millions of low-income students with debt they’ll never pay off.
By Stephen Burd
The appalling treatment of disadvantaged students at the hands of proprietary schools ought to be a national scandal, especially at a time when America desperately needs more college graduates to stay competitive. But the problem has barely registered in Washington. That’s partly because the proprietary school lobby has enough clout among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to keep the issue quiet. But Congress and the Obama administration have also had their hands full advancing other higher education reforms—in particular, legislation to kick private lenders out of the federally subsidized student loan program. This will create tens of billions of dollars in cost savings that will go toward larger Pell grants for low-income students. But that measure, vital as it is, affects only lending within the federal student loan program. It leaves untouched the private loans that are increasingly being foisted on students like Leveque and the loosely regulated schools that are profiting as a result.