Browse releases

By date

September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006

Media Resources


Release Date: 05/30/2013

Consumers Union Urges the Department of Education to Strengthen Oversight of For-Profit Colleges

Tighter Rules Needed to Ensure Students & Taxpayers Get Good Return on Investment in Higher Education
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, urged the Department of Education to strengthen oversight of for-profit colleges at a field hearing held today in San Francisco by the federal agency to explore topics for future rulemaking. 
In testimony at the hearing, Suzanne Martindale, staff attorney for Consumers Union, called for tighter rules to ensure that federal financial aid only goes to career education programs that effectively train students and prepare them for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.   
“Students and taxpayers deserve a good return on their investment in higher education,” said Martindale.  “Unfortunately, many for-profit colleges are failing to provide students with the kind of quality education that leads to success in the job market.  The Department of Education must strengthen oversight to ensure that students and taxpayers are not subsidizing schools that do little more than put students in debt.”  
According to recent data by the Department of Education, for-profit colleges enroll 13 percent of students seeking higher education, but account for 47 percent of student loan defaults.  Twenty-three percent of their borrowers default on their loans within three years of graduating or dropping out.  In 2012, for-profit colleges benefitted from $32 billion in federal financial aid – roughly 25 percent of the total amount going to higher education programs.
In 2011, the Department of Education issued a “gainful employment” rule for career education colleges receiving federal student loan assistance to hold them accountable for providing quality education for students that leads to viable job prospects.  While the rule has been subject to legal challenges by for-profit colleges, the court has made clear that the Department has the authority to define gainful employment.  
Consumers Union urged the Department of Education to continue working to improve the gainful employment rule by setting stronger program loan repayment thresholds.  For example, if only 35 percent of a college’s former students in a given program are repaying their loans, this is a strong indication that they are ill-equipped to manage their debt.  Other reforms supported by Consumers Union include establishing stricter metrics for evaluating college performance and taking steps to prevent colleges from manipulating student default rates to inflate their level of success.   
Consumers Union also urged Congress to work with the Department of Education to make sure that it has all the tools it needs to effectively monitor the performance of colleges and enforce a robust gainful employment rule. 

Michael McCauley, Consumers Union, 415.431.6747 ext 126 (office)/415.902.9537 (cell) or

See press release archive

RSS News Feed

Get all the latest information from the CR Press Room delivered right to your desktop.