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For-Profit Colleges Face Increased Oversight

For-profit colleges are in the news today as this growing sector of higher education undergoes scrutiny.

The federal government is considering new rules to increase oversight of for-profit colleges, including the possibility of cutting federal aid to schools if graduates spend more than 8 percent of their starting salaries to repay loans, The Washington Post reports.

Beginning June 24, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) will hold hearings on the industry to examine federal education spending at for-profit institutions.

The Career College Association is lobbying on behalf of for-profit colleges against these new proposals, according to the Associated Press.

While enrollment in for-profit colleges has more than doubled in the past eight years to 1.8 million, this educational alternative is leaving students swimming in debt. A College Board report that I wrote about last month revealed that 53 percent of graduates from for-profit colleges had more than $30,500 in debt. And reports show that students from for-profit institutions are more likely to default on student loans.

As community colleges and four-year institutions struggle to meet the increasing demand for services with ever-tightening budgets, students will likely continue to turn to for-profit schools. But it does come with a cost. We'll watch in the coming weeks to see what safeguards are put in place to protect students and taxpayers.

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