Author Dr. Tressie McMillian Cottom has written a new book called Lower Ed which details some of the failures of the for-profit education industry. Ms. Cottom worked in the industry and now studies for-profit education at Virginia Common Wealth University.
For-profit colleges and universities are know for high costs, federal student loan and grant abuse and low graduation rates. Their marketing campaigns target Black, female and poor students through personal relationships and one-to-one marketing. Until they sign up. Then students are loaded down with debt and poor job prospects.
Dr. Cottom gave a detailed talk at the Economic Policy Institute that covers much of the content of her book.
Dr. Cottom was also featured on NPR.
And in The Atlantic, where her piece covers the conditions of economic inequality that led to the rise for-profit industry.
We have to acknowledge that for-profit schools are filling a gap in our education system and society. Stagnant wages are creating high demand for education just as most states cut back on education funding and private colleges and universities choose to serve the rich. The for-profit schools stepped into this space.
The real issue is that private and state universities have abandoned their role in providing opportunity to low-income students and intelligent students from bad schools. The for-profit industry is just filling a need.
The Obama administration was aware of these issues. It implemented the "Gainful Employment Rule" requiring reporting of student debt-to-income ratios. It is expected that the Trump administration will rescind the rules.