It’s no secret that the higher education system is dysfunctional, and apparently in a state of perpetual price inflation. However, among the numerous institutions dedicated to higher learning, there is one particular group of institutions who are engaged in a system of profiteering so shameless that they routinely attract the attention of the national media. These institutions are for-profit colleges. The criticisms of for-profit colleges are many, and include some of the following accusations; deliberately preying on military personnel, spending well in excess of half of all revenue generated spent on marketing, charging up to double what public and community colleges do, and failing to give their students increased earning opportunities upon graduation. However these accusations pale in comparison to the findings of an actual investigation into the business practices of for-profit colleges.
A random sample of recruiting practices conducted in 2010 by the Government Accountability Office found that all 15 institutions sampled were engaging in deceptive practices. Practices in which recruiters refused to disclose the costs of the programs and lied about the earning potential of graduates. Four of the institutions sampled were found to be engaged in outright fraud. In Texas, an undercover applicant with $250,000 of savings was encouraged to hide his assets so that he would be eligible for a bigger financial aid sum. In Pennsylvania, a financial aid representative at a for-profit institution edited an applicant’s FASFA form to omit the entirety of their savings. In some cases students at for-profit institutions are being charged $150,000 for a four year degree. It seems there is no limit to the lengths for-profit schools will go to, to overcharge students for what is essentially an un-accredited education.