Senate report: For-profit schools hurt students

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by BYRON HARRIS

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WFAA

Posted on July 30, 2012 at 8:11 PM

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DALLAS — Students at for-profit schools drop out at much higher rates than they graduate, but even so, taxpayers spend $32 billion per year on them, according to a two-year study released Monday by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

News 8 has been investigating for-profit schools for six years, and some of Byron Harris' work was cited in the report. Westwood College, Everest College and ATI have all been probed by News 8.

The Senate study found for-profit schools can cost four times as much as public schools. It said for-profits spend more for marketing and profit than they do on instruction.

For-profit students have high debt loads, and those who graduate have poor job placement, the study found.

News 8 reported Everest College lied about job-placement rates to state officials, while ATI — also mentioned in the Senate report — faked job placement statistics.

The Senate report also revealed that when you're looking online for educational resources, you might not always be getting what you expect.

The report said websites like EducationConnection.com and EarnMyDegree.com are "lead generators." For every lead that brings in a prospective student, a for-profit school will pay anywhere from $10 up to $150.

The for-profit school industry said the Senate report is political, but the Senate committee says something has to change.

E-mail bharris@wfaa.com

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