For-profit colleges have been in the news a lot lately, in part due to the fact that the Senate just released a study this week with troubling findings about the industry. The study noted that the for-profit college industry receives $32 billion a year in federal taxpayer dollars – from Pell grants and veteran’s benefits to student loan funds - but has much higher dropout and student loan default rates than traditional public and private colleges.
Now the federal government isn’t alone in cracking down. This week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that California’s Student Aid Commission will eliminate 154 for-profit colleges from their list of schools that are eligible to receive Cal Grant funds, because the schools failed to meet minimum standards for graduation rates and student loan defaults. This will help ensure that students receiving Cal Grants aren’t wasting their precious funds on programs that won’t deliver the education and training they need to succeed in the job market after graduation.
If you’re a student or parent considering higher education, it’s important to do your homework to find out whether a school is providing quality and affordable education that meets your needs. Luckily, the Department of Education and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are working to promote the use of a new, simple “shopping sheet” that clearly shows the cost of attendance at a particular college, as well as its graduation and student loan default rates. There is also a bill pending in the Senate that would require all schools to make such a sheet available to students before they enroll.