For-profit colleges aren’t inherently evil — or good, writes Michael Horn, co-founder of the Innosight Institute in an American Enterprise Institute paper, Beyond Good and Evil.
The U.S. government has tied dollars to its goal of expanding access to higher education, Horn writes. For-profits have responded by expanding access.
Corrupt practices can occur at non-profit as well as for-profit colleges, he argues. It’s not the business model that makes the difference. What matters is whether colleges are “delivering on what society is paying them to do.” And “is the law asking them to do the right thing?”
The U.S. Education Department is close to finalizing “gainful employment” regulations that would cut off loans to career training programs whose graduates have high debt and default rates. It’s expected to hit the for-profit sector hard. If extended to the historically black colleges, 93 percent would fail the gainful employment test, said Harry Alford, president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, at an event organized by Lanny Davis, a for-profit higher education lobbyist.
Alford and Mario H. Lopez, president of the Hispanic Leadership Fund, called for a study of the rule’s impact on low-income and minority students, who disproportionately attend for-profit career colleges. Jesse Jackson issued a separate statement also calling for an impact study.