Though private sector colleges and universities (PSCUs) enjoyed a substantial victory last week when the federal government watered down its "gainful employment" rules, the battle is not yet won. The Wall Street Journal reports that regulations and public scrutiny will continue to pressure for-profit institutions, and that gridlock in Washington leave many measures up in the air.
Tuition and default rates also remain topics of conversation. And if that's not enough, PSCUs may lose access to federal aid through no fault of their own, because "the fiscal 2012 budget may include cuts to the under-funded Pell Grant program, reserved for the neediest students."
MarketWatch similarly reports that PSCUs labor under a good deal of suspicion. "Increasingly popular for-profit colleges have come under scrutiny because of high default rates on student loans and accusations of deceptive marketing practices. Many former students have also complained of high interest rates and crushing debt burdens."
At the state level things aren't much easier for PSCUs. Star-Telegram.com reports that Texas is about to initiate an online accountability system for higher education institutions. The new system will allow students to gain a sense of buyer beware before they take out massive loans for a perhaps questionable education.
It's a bittersweet victory for PSCUs. How the most recent legislation will effect enrollment, profits, and growth remains to be seen.