For-profit schools have come under fire for targeting poor, underserved populations, mostly people of color. Did we mention the homeless and unemployed? Perhaps that wouldn't be so bad if the graduation rates for schools like Kaplan University, the University of Phoenix and Straayer weren't so low. Julianne Hing of ColorLines examines a new report released today by Sen. Tom Harkin's Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which details exactly how for-profit schools have taken advantage of veterans' benefits and loopholes in their federal regulations. They've done this to sign up the many vets coming home from wars abroad in order to boost enrollment and revenue of for-profit schools. "Between 2009 and 2010 alone, revenue from military educational benefits at 20 for-profit education companies increased 211 percent,” said the report. In the last four years, 20 for-profit schools saw their income from Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense benefits skyrocket — from $66.6 million in 2006 to $521.2 million in 2010, a 683 percent increase.
Federal regulations bar for-profit schools from receiving more than 90 percent of their revenue from federal student loans and grants. Even though some for-profit schools are close to hitting that maximum, money from the GI Bill and other VA benefits is not considered federal student aid, which allows them to fully exploit the newly expanded benefits and veteran population. For-profit schools are in the business of making profits, not necessarily making sure that students are educated or even finish the degree. You've heard the adage "You get what you pay for"? Sometimes there are unforeseen costs, like buying a degree that may not be worth the paper on which it is printed.
Read more at ColorLines.