For-profit colleges are feeling the heat these days. The Huffington Post reports that a "wide array of civil rights, student advocacy and consumer groups wrote a letter to President Barack Obama on Wednesday urging him to immediately move forward with the proposed rule" to "hold for-profit colleges accountable for saddling students with debts they cannot repay."
The HuffPo article goes on to report that this letter "comes in the midst of an intense lobbying and advertising campaign run by the for-profit education section, which is waging an assault on the so-called 'gainful employment' regulations being considered by the federal government." These rules are "aimed at cracking down on schools that leave student unable to repay student loan debts given the low-wage jobs they tend to secure after graduation."
This legislation doesn't just affect big-name for-profits like The University of Phoenix and DeVry, but also more specialized trade schools like Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.
But for-profits are pushing back. Courthouse News Service reports that "for-profit colleges sued the U.S. Secretary of Education to try to stop fraud-protection regulations from taking effect." For-profit colleges claim the proposed regulations represent a misrepresentation of their services.
The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, or APSCU, sued the Department of Education to challenge the new rules that, among other things, define "substantial misrepresentation" and how to subject schools to "severe penalties" when their admissions offices play fast and loose with the facts.
A battle between for-profit universities and the government looms on the horizon. Who the winner will be remains to be decided. A ringside seat at this clash of the titans, however, promises to offer quite an enlightening -- and entertaining -- experience.