For-Profit Colleges Continue to Receive Billions in Federal Aid Despite Being Sued by Everyone

Back in June, Nicole wrote a post about how students who attended the for-profit Corinthian Colleges were able to get their student loans forgiven after the school closed: “When your school uses high-pressure tactics to recruit you, gives you a sub-standard education, goes bankrupt, closes, and is under charges of fraud, the federal government will forgive your student loans,” she wrote. “That’s what it takes.”

But what if your sub-par for-profit college doesn’t go bankrupt, and instead continues to pilfer billions of dollars in federal money and put you in debt despite being sued or investigated by prosecutors in your state? The Times investigates:

One of those is Alta Colleges, partly owned by the Boston private equity firm Housatonic Partners. Alta, which operates campuses and an online division in several states, is being sued by the Illinois attorney general, who claims the colleges engaged in “deceptive, unfair and abusive practices in the marketing and selling of their criminal justice program,” a three-year degree that costs $75,000, according to the complaint.

Students were promised they would be primed for careers as police officers, sheriffs, corrections officers and FBI agents, but only 3.8 percent of graduates were actually employed as sworn law enforcement officers or correctional officers, the lawsuit states. The two most common jobs for graduates of the criminal justice program were as security guards or in retailing, positions that typically require only a high school or equivalency diploma. Alta schools received more than $104 million in federal aid in the last school year.

The for-profit college industry runs mostly by targeting low-income students with few options to advance their career through education. One possible solution has been brought up by our president and blue and red states alike: free community college.

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