Earlier this month, the U.S. Education Department froze funding to Corinthian Colleges, one of the country's biggest for-profit higher education institutions, for reporting inaccurate job placement and graduation figures. Critics have long argued the for-profit industry misuses federal aid money at the expense of students and taxpayers. WGBH News' On Campus took a closer look at the numbers:
In many cases, says Cornell economist Suzanne Mettler, students come out worse off than if they had never gone to school because they have trouble finding gainful employment.
Lawmakers in Washington are listening.
“The for-profit colleges are both driving up the amount of student loan debt out there and they're driving up the number of defaults," said U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Warren believes for-profit schools are loading up low-income students with debt that they can't possibly repay.
"When that happens the students get hurt, the taxpayers get hurt. But the colleges just keep on taking federal dollars with almost no consequences,” Warren said in a telephone interview. "I was glad to see the Department of Education move on Corinthian and I hope this signals that they're going to be tougher on the for-profit colleges."