On Election night, I watched Frontline’s College, Inc.
During the expose, I became more and more animated and upset by what I was learning. Because I am a teacher who believes in the power of education to change lives, minds and the world for the better, I was stunned by the power brokers who have taken over higher education and turned it in to a money-making proposition for investors while also bankrupting students who were intent on “experiencing the American Dream,”
These for-profit colleges (University of Phoenix, Argosy University) market heavily to immigrants and students who qualify for large federal loans. Often, these students are working full-time jobs, trying to make ends meet. When they finish their degrees, they are left with worthless diplomas and mounting college loans. Because the accreditation process is so vague, many schools do mot provide the education they promised. Nurses in one college spent no time in hospitals during their course work, and could not get jobs with the degrees they had earned. They were still faced with repaying tens of thousands of dollars in federal student loans.
The profiteers are not only cheating students, they are cheating the American taxpayers who fund the federal loan program. Students who default on federal loans are haunted by the default for years; wages may be garnished, they are prohibited from federal jobs. The colleges that lured students in on false premises, and then encouraged them to take on huge loans, suffer no consequences. The investors get rich on federal money.
The for profit colleges seem to be enjoying less regulation, thanks to Bush-era legislation that removed oversight. Let’s hope that this expose will alert Washington to the problem.