For-profit college recruiters told applicants to lie to qualify for more federal aid, inflated their future earning potential and let them cheat on entry tests, reports a Government Accountability Office study that used undercover investigators. Four of 15 unnamed colleges encouraged fraud, says the GAO. “All 15 made deceptive or otherwise questionable statements” to investigators posing as applicants.
One unidentified college told an undercover applicant to fabricate three dependents on an aid form so that he might qualify for a federal grant. A Texas institution advised an applicant not to report a $250,000 inheritance because it “was not the government’s business.” A small D.C. beauty college told an applicant that barbers can make $150,000 to $250,000 a year.
For-Profit Schools: The Student Recruitment Experience will be released tomorrow.
One told an applicant a $14,000 massage therapy certificate was a good value, when a nearby community college offered the same certificate for $520.
. . . Six schools told applicants that they could not speak with a financial aid counselor until they had agreed to enroll and paid an application fee. One school told an applicant that student loans were safer than car loans because “no one will come after you if you don’t pay.”
In a few cases, admissions and financial-aid officers provided “accurate and helpful information about the transferability of credits and prospective salaries,” the report says.
Shares in for-profit education companies fell when the report was leaked.