Who’s Regulating For-Profit Schools? Execs From For-Profit Colleges
by Annie Waldman, ProPublica
College accreditors have come under scrutiny recently for allowing for-profit schools to collect billions in federal aid despite low graduation and high default rates.
Accreditors are supposed to be watchdogs for college quality. They are not government agencies but colleges need an accreditor’s seal of approval so students can qualify for federal loans.
The agency that has received the most heat is the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. ACICS allowed Corinthian Colleges Inc. to keep on operating right up until the for-profit college chain collapsed after evidence emerged that the schools had lured thousands of poor students into predatory loans. The accreditor placed a Corinthian campus on its “honor roll” just months before the Education Department forced the school to shut down.
ACICS, which oversees hundreds of for-profit colleges, is now the target of two government investigations. A ProPublica analysis also found that schools overseen by ACICS had the lowest graduation rates compared with other accreditors.
So who are the people behind the beleaguered accreditor? They include executives from some of the most scandal-plagued schools in the country.
We looked at all ACICS commissioners since 2010 and found that two-thirds of them have worked as executives at for-profit schools while sitting on the council. A third of the commissioners came from schools that have been facing consumer-protection lawsuits, investigations by state attorneys general, or federal financial monitoring.
Tags: For-Profit Colleges