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Posted by on Feb 9, 2011 in Education, TG Roundup, USA

Pressing the Emotional Buttons of For-Profit School Prey

Here is the latest on this subject (Via Huffington Post)

Newly-released internal training documents from several for-profit colleges illustrate a culture that encourages recruiters to increase enrollment by focusing on emotions such as “pain” and “fear” to attract low-income students who are struggling with adverse personal and financial circumstances.

The documents, obtained by a Senate oversight committee, shed light on the high-pressure recruiting tactics employed by some for-profit schools to increase enrollment numbers and the profits that come from federal student-aid dollars.

“Remind them of what things will be like if they don’t continue forward and earn their degrees,” reads one document obtained from ITT Technical Institute, a for-profit school with more than 100 campuses across the country. “Poke the pain a bit and remind them who else is depending on them and their commitment to a better future.”

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has conducted a series of hearings probing the for-profit education sector during the past year. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who chairs the committee, referenced the documents in a Monday-evening speech on the Senate floor.

For-profit colleges are facing increased scrutiny and new regulations amid growing evidence of aggressive and deceptive recruiting tactics and a disproportionate number of students defaulting on federal loans. Critics of the industry have pointed to the tremendous amounts of money such schools spend on marketing and recruiting in order to get more students — and their federal aid funds — in the door.

Harkin’s committee has requested a series of internal training documents from numerous for-profit schools. Among the more eye-opening materials turned over to the committee were training guides from ITT and Kaplan University, which is owned by The Washington Post Co. (Read our look at Kaplan’s questionable tactics here.) [Full article here]

The non-existent free markets are not the ones bringing this information to light. Rather, it is a combination of other factors – which include enforcement and congressional investigations – that are responsible to finally bring focus on this fraud.

For decades as these schools increased their enrollments with fraudulent practices, the stocks kept going higher and higher. In other words, the ‘free markets’ fleeced a number of ‘investors’ of their retirement savings. At the same time the insiders got filthy rich while ruining the financial health of hundreds of thousands of students. Now the industry lobby is fighting ‘overzealous’ regulation.

I want to see some high profile people in jail for these infractions like a CEO of a major for-profit ‘University’ which fleeced a lot of investors and students.