Senators spar over for-profit education

A U.S. Senate committee probing allegations that some for-profit schools push students into big debt and fail to educate them likely will introduce a bill tightening rules next year, Reuters reports. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, said at a hearing that he was determined to stamp out abuses at the schools, which often offer training in jobs like installing central air conditioning or running a doctors office. “We will be having yet another hearing in early December, and then be looking at sometime next year coming up with some kind of legislative changes,” said Harkin. During the third hearing on the subject, Harkin sparred with Republican Sen. Michael Enzi, who argued that dropping out and defaulting on student loans—which critics say are rife at for-profit schools—were common at all schools. “It’s naive to think these problems are limited to just the for-profit sector,” he said, pointing to large debts owed by many law school graduates. “We’re just looking at this in a vacuum, and that’s not fair.” For-profit schools, which include many of the nation’s largest online universities, have been battling an Education Department effort to bar financial aid to students in a program if too many former students fail to pay the principal on their federal loans…

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Laura Ascione

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