WASHINGTON (CN) – In a House subcommittee hearing Tuesday on the regulation of for-profit colleges, lawmakers across the aisle agreed that Congress needs to intervene against predatory behavior from private institutions like the now-defunct ITT Technical Institute and Argosy University.
“There are dreams and aspirations being dashed by these for-profit colleges,” Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said in her closing remarks, capping off testimony that focused on the number of students left with enormous debt and little to show for it when they leave certain for-profit schools.
The House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies invited former for-profit college student Eric Luongo to testify about his experience at DeVry University.
Loungo, also a disabled veteran, said he received G.I. Bill educational assistance after being honorably discharged from the Navy. He believed he would attend college for web graphic design for free, but was pushed to fill out federal loan paperwork and sign promissory notes every year, and was left with over $100,000 in debt and a degree that couldn’t even land him a job.
Later in the hearing, Representative Katherine Clark, D-Mass., asked witness Robert Shireman, director of higher education excellence and senior fellow at The Century Foundation, if there is an adequate process for former students to file claims for relief in situations like the one Luongo faces.
Shireman said the Department of Education requires specific documentation for students with high debt guided by aggressive for-profit recruiters. Many, like Luongo, only have the memory of phone conversations allegedly meant to cut down on paper trails.
“I never thought I would be the subject of such predatory acts,” Louongo said. “As far as I know, it leaves me on the hook for $101,000 that, quite frankly, I’ll never be able to pay off.”
Corinthian College, shuttered in 2015, stands as one of the most potent cautionary tales in the realm of for-profit institutions. When Corinthian filed for bankruptcy, many of its stunned students were left with millions in student loan debt but no meaningful… (continue reading)