What Might the For-Profit Sector’s Problems Mean for All of Higher Ed?
By Jarret Cummings
Earlier this week, the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senator Tom Harkin, held a press conference to announce the release of the committee’s report on the for-profit higher education industry. (The video archive of the press conference is currently viewable from Sen. Harkin’s homepage; in the future, it will most likely find its way to his “Videos” page or his YouTube site.) As the culmination of a two-year investigation, the four-volume report highlights a number of concerns about the sector’s recruiting and spending practices, student outcomes, and heavy reliance on federal sources of student financial aid for revenue. The report’s executive summary effectively covers the range of issues involved, so I won’t try to recreate it here, but a few points from it illustrate why the problems of the for-profit sector are increasingly important.