Saturday, June 11, 2016

Trump University Isn't The Only For-Profit College Scam Defrauding Students-- Guest Post By Annette Taddeo


Going to college, getting an education, and having a career is part of the American Dream many people strive for. However, today this is becoming less of a reality for so many aspiring students. For-profit colleges have crept into the mainstream of higher education and taken advantage of students. They charge high tuition fees and provide little in return. These “colleges” use a classic bait and switch strategy targeted at unsuspecting students. They lure in students expecting to learn, improve their lives, and get a job but instead of degrees, students receive costly excuses and a string of lies, while investors prosper. Trump University is clearly the most obvious and egregious example of this fraud and exploitation, yet in Florida, we have our own brand of for-profit exploitation.

These for-profit colleges now account for over 18% of the higher education market share, significantly higher than the national average of 12%. And like Trump University and Corinthian College, they have shut their doors in the middle of the night, leaving students with nothing to show for their attempt to get a good education but large amounts of debt. The obvious questions that come to mind are “where was the oversight”, “where were the state and federal officials?”

Well, as we are now learning through released documents, it’s all about the money. And no surprise, much of these money grabs tie back to Florida. For example, Corinthian College donated over $27,000 to Marco Rubio over the last few years and surprise, surprise, he wrote a letter to the Department of Education asking for “leniency” in maintaining the college’s access to Federal Student loans. As we have seen all over the news, the attorney general of Florida, Pam Bondi, solicited and received a $25,000 donation from Donald Trump for her campaign. And then lo and behold, she drops the planned lawsuit against Trump and Trump University.

Apparently, Florida politicians are quite good at finding their golden goose. Instead of cracking down on fraudulent for-profit colleges, our Representatives in Congress, have chosen to cash in. The now defunct Dade Medical College, which left thousands of displaced students in FL-26 with no recourse, has been stacking the deck in government by buying on both sides of the aisle. In 2012, Dade Medical College donated $16,500 and $17,500 to former South Florida Congress members Joe Garcia and David Rivera, respectively.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new. South Florida politicians have collected tens of thousands of dollars in donations from these organizations in just the past few election cycles. Garcia and Rivera, as well as current FL-26 Representative, Carlos Curbelo have collected over $60,000 in for-profit money. It is abhorrent that these are the same people who write our country’s national education policies. But apparently money is more important than protecting constituents.

We had over 813,000 college students enrolled in the state of Florida in 2015. These young minds are future business leaders, academics, health practitioners. They depend on state and the federal government to make sure they have all the tools they need to succeed. Our elected officials, the people we have entrusted with looking out for best interest of the people, haven't done their job.

Higher education ought to be a pathway to a fulfilling career, not a pitfall into crippling debt. I remember being a struggling student, waiting tables to pay for books. I see students everyday, working twice as hard just to make it to class and get by. It’s time we took higher education out of the hands of corporations, investors and fraudsters and put it back into hands of educators. It’s time we fight for students, not for profits.

Editor's note: Annette has been a friend of this blog since her run for Congress in 2008 against Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the campaign that Debbie Wasserman Schultz-- then chair of the DCCC Red to Blue program-- sabotaged and set herself on the path to the calumny in which most Democrats hold her today. This cycle Annette is running with the DCCC's blessing-- one of the only progressives anywhere they are backing-- for the seat held by Carlos Curbelo. If you'd like to contribute to her campaign, you can do it by clicking on the thermometer:
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At 2:39 PM, Anonymous wjbill said...

I think everyone who makes this an issue and forgets to include non-college education is leaving out an important (and large) segment of the population. Schools that teach building trades, mechanics, etc. are critical to our society also.

At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Warrior said...

How do you explain Bill Clinton receiving over $16 million in State department funds while he served as "Chancellor" for Laureate Education Inc. while his wife was the Secretary of State? It's a little obscure, not widely known fact that when he was confronted on this issue, he resigned. But, he kept the money.
Here's the link,
All these Universities are "for profit" anymore. They sink these young people deeply into debt, while blowing their minds with big ideas on how wonderful it will be graduating with 75k in student loan debt. The reality is far different.

At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should check out this article for an outline of what exactly "for-profit" colleges are, why they exist and the current legislation surrounding trying to improve their situation in the United States. It really helps give context to the overall issue.


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