Target: Congressman John Kline, Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce
Goal: Safeguard regulations protecting students from predatory for-profit colleges
Unfortunately for America’s students, the for-profit college industry is rife with waste and abuse. Many students leave these for-profit schools with unmanageable debt and an education that is insufficient to prepare them for the workforce. The Department of Education has undertaken steps to stop some of the most egregious abuses, like deceptive marketing, low quality education, and unusually high graduate debt by instituting new standards that colleges and universities must meet in order to participate in federal grant and loan programs. Regrettably, Congressman John Kline has recently introduced a bill that will repeal these regulations and give for-profit colleges free reign to take advantage of students.
While it is certainly true that some for-profit colleges treat student well and provide an affordable, high quality education to students, there are industry wide problems that can’t be ignored. Despite only 13 percent of American students attending for-profit colleges, these schools account for almost half of all student loan defaults in the country. Many of these defaults are due to the inflated costs of attendance and poor educational standards of these institutions. With profit as a primary motivator, many for-profit colleges are not concerned about their students preparedness for the workforce.
Despite this, the industry receives a disproportionate amount of taxpayer funding. With just over ten percent of American students attending, for-profit colleges receive 25% of Pell Grants and federal student loans. Some of these schools receive a majority of their income from taxpayer funding. There is no reason why taxpayer money should be used to fund schools that take advantage of students. The rules introduced by the Department of Education instituted minimum standards for job placement rates, loan repayment rates, and graduate debt-to-income ratios that schools must meet to be eligible for federal funding.
Interestingly, it seems like Congressman John Kline might also have a profit motive in his decision to oppose these simple protections for American students; three of his top five donors in 2011-2012 were for-profit colleges. Please sign this petition to tell Congressman John Kline to put American students before his donors, and withdraw this bill.
Dear Congressman Kline,
While there are certainly some for-profit colleges that treat students well and prepare them for entering the workforce, there are many industry-wide problems that simply cannot be ignored. Despite less than 15 percent of American students attending for-profit schools, they account for a quarter of federal grant and loan receipts and nearly half of all student loan defaults. These statistics make it clear that many for-profit schools are charging more money for courses that make students less likely to find gainful employment in their chosen field.
There is no reason why taxpayer money should be used to prop up these predatory institutions, and the Department of Education regulations to increase standards for participation in federal grant and loan programs would go a long way towards protecting students and taxpayers from having to pay for an inferior education. I noticed that a significant amount of your campaign funding comes from for-profit colleges and their representatives. Please put American students before your donors, and renounce your misguided bill to repeal the Department of Education regulations.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: thisisbossi via Flickr