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Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit chain of colleges that has been under federal investigation, closed its doors and apparently is out of business. This is a shame for the 16,000 mostly low-income students who were lured to enroll and promised a good job. But it is good news to see a predatory venture go under.
These must be the remnants of the Corinthian chain, because last December, the U.S. Department of Education allowed the corporation to sell most of their campuses to a debt collection agency with no experience running colleges.
Congress and the U.S. Department of Education should have cracked down on these institutions long ago, but they hire the best lobbyists in town, from both parties and continue to offer a cheap version of “education” that makes money for them and rips off students. When Senator Tom Harkin was in charge of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, he tore into the for-profits, but to no avail.
They make so much money in their business, that they can afford to hire the lobbyists who protect them but not their students.
This is what the New York Times wrote about the industry’s ability to dodge regulatory controls:
The story of how the for-profit colleges survived the threat of a major federal crackdown offers a case study in Washington power brokering. Rattled by the administration’s tough talk, the colleges spent more than $16 million on an all-star list of prominent figures, particularly Democrats with close ties to the White House, to plot strategy, mend their battered image and plead their case.
Anita Dunn, a close friend of President Obama and his former White House communications director, worked with Kaplan University, one of the embattled school networks. Jamie Rubin, a major fund-raising bundler for the president’s re-election campaign, met with administration officials about ATI, a college network based in Dallas, in which Mr. Rubin’s private-equity firm has a stake.
A who’s who of Democratic lobbyists — including Richard A. Gephardt, the former House majority leader; John Breaux, the former Louisiana senator; and Tony Podesta, whose brother, John, ran Mr. Obama’s transition team — were hired to buttonhole officials.
And politically well-connected investors, including Donald E. Graham, chief executive of the Washington Post Company, which owns Kaplan, and John Sperling, founder of the University of Phoenix and a longtime friend of the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, made impassioned appeals.
In all, industry advocates met more than two dozen times with White House and Education Department officials, including senior officials like Education Secretary Arne Duncan, records show, even as Mr. Obama has vowed to reduce the “outsize” influence of lobbyists and special interests in Washington.
As I wrote just a few weeks ago, “The burgeoning of the for-profit college industry has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, sent many thousands of students out into the world with shoddy educations, and made a few people very rich.” No one is doing the perp walk, unlike the Atlanta educators. When we will see these sleazy operators go to jail for theft of government money and theft of services to students who were cheated of an education?