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July 31, 2016 Comments (0) Latest Education

For-Profit Colleges Increase Donations to Friendly Politicians

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As the Obama administration’s attacks on the for-profit education industry have grown to be more pointed, companies within the sector have started to spend more money on contributions to friendly politicians in Congress, Fredreka Schouten and Christopher Schnaars of USA Today report. Among the largest recipients of the largesse has been House Education Committee Chairman John Kline, who recently introduced a measure that would safeguard for-profit colleges’ use of federal student education loans.

Kline introduced the \”Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act\” bill earlier this month. It would avoid the Obama administration from putting into effect rules that will bar schools whose students carry unusually high education loan balances and who are less likely to fully repay them from accessing federal student loan funding.

A similar set of rules specifically targeting the for-profit industry were adopted following a Senate investigation report published this year that questioned for-profit colleges’ recruitment practices, high tuition fees and levels of debt for their students.

Federal student aid continues to be lucrative for that industry. More than $30 billion in taxpayer funds flow to the schools every year, according to the Senate education panel’s report. About 60% of for-profit colleges receive a lot more than 70% of their revenue from U.S. government programs, federal data show.

A USA TODAY analysis of newly filed campaign reports shows Kline raised $138,350 from April 1 through June 30 in the political action committees, employees and lobbyists of for-profit schools for his reelection campaign and the leadership PAC. That’s nearly one-quarter of his total receipts and up from $20,700 the industry gave to Kline during the first 3 months of the year.

According to Kline’s spokeswoman Alexandra Sollberger, Kline’s curiosity about easing the regulatory burdens carried by institutions better education isn\’t limited to for-profits. She pointed to two other bills submitted by Kline that would have done away with a substantial part of the Department of Education’s college regulatory framework. 2 yrs ago, Kline delivered a speech on the floor of the House saying that although he supported efforts to make colleges more accountable to their students, administration efforts were actually limiting students’ choices.

This year, the U.S. Department of Education announced it might make another make an effort to write gainful employment rules, leaving alarms in the market. The rules apply to programs at any school – from for-profit universities to government-funded community colleges – that try to prepare students for careers.

The bill the home Education Committee will consider Wednesday prohibits the company from moving forward on creating new gainful employment rules. It also seeks to block federal action on several other controversial measures, including requiring career-college programs to disclose students’ graduation rates and median student-debt load. Another part of the bill would ban attempts to require colleges offering online programs to students in other states to find approval to operate in those states.

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