The for-profits have reaped big profits, and why not? Some of them spend more on recruiting than they do on instruction. Most of their revenues (nearly 90 percent for most for-profit colleges) come from the federal student-loan program, and their docile students passively sign the loan documents that are pushed in front of them by the for-profits' efficient student processors.
And if anyone accuses them of fraud or misrepresentation--hey, no problem. Most for-profits force their students to waive their right to sue somewhere in the enrollment documents.
For years, the for-profits have greased the wheels on their gravy train by making strategic campaign contributions to important people in Congress and by hiring Washington lobbyists to protect their interests. Everyone from Mitt Romney to Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz got a little money from the for-profits, and so adequately regulating this gang of pirates is out of the question.
Will things change if Hillary is elected President? It's very unlikely. Here are a few tidbits of information about Hillary and Bill Clinton's ties to the for-profit industry that come from a recent article by Michael Stratford.
- Bill Clinton worked for Laureate Education, which has for profit colleges all over the world. According to Stratford's article, Bill earned $16.5 million between 2010 and 2014 working for Laureate. In fact, Bill Clinton served as honorary chancellor for Laureate International Universities until last year, when he resigned shortly before Hillary launched her campaign.
- Hillary earned $225,000 making a speech to Academic Partnerships, a for-profit company that makes big bucks partnering with public universities and turning face-to-face courses into online courses that Academic Partnership oversees.
- Several of Hillary Clinton's campaign-fund bundlers have worked as lobbyists for Apollo Group, the parent company of University of Phoenix. (And by the way, Barack Obama's "best friend," Martin Nesbitt, is making plans to buy Apollo Group.)
David Halperin, an investigative reporter who has done a good job reporting on the for-profit industry, praised Hillary for taking a "strong, principled stand against predatory for-profit college companies," but I am highly skeptical.
When I was growing up, I was taught that there are only two kinds of snakes: dead ones and live ones. Similarly, with perhaps a few exceptions, there are only two kinds of for-profit colleges: the ones that exploit the student-loan program to the detriment of their students, and the ones that have closed.
Frank Cerabino. Failed medical college was reliable source of campaign money. Palm Beach Post, November 2, 2015. http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/cerabino-failed-medical-college-was-reliable-sourc/npD6Q/
David Halperin. Top Democratic Lawyer Pushed Pentagon to End U. of Phoenix Suspension. Huffington Post, March 17, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/davidhalperin/top-democratic-lawyer-pus_b_9487600.html
Richard Rubin. Hillary and Bill Clinton Mad $139 Million in Eight Years. Bloomberg.com, July 31, 2015. http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-07-31/hillary-and-bill-clinton-paid-43-million-in-federal-taxes
Charles M. Smith and Dina Rasor. For-profit colleges are bankrolling Romney to keep to keep student loan money flowing. Truth-out.org, June 14, 2012. http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/9790-for-profit-colleges-are-bankrolling-mitt-romney-and-other-republicans-to-keep-their-public-student-loans-flowing
Michael Stratford. Hillary Clinton's ties to for-profit education companies. Inside Higher Education, April 18, 2016. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/04/18/hillary-clintons-ties-profit-education-companies