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Mr. Big Dog

Barack Obama pushes for-profit colleges to the brink

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The lame duck is on a roll lately. Good stuff! About time someone turns off the government teat for these degree mills that create nothing but hopelessly indebted young people.

Barack Obama pushes for-profit colleges to the brink

On Wednesday, the Obama administration will begin choking off the financial lifeline of for-profit colleges whose graduates can’t find well-paying jobs — and the move is likely to accelerate a wave of shutdowns for an industry taking assaults from all sides.

Reining in the multibillion-dollar industry has been the administration’s goal for most of President Barack Obama’s term in office, fueled by complaints that for-profit colleges lure students with misleading promises, then saddle them with debts they can’t pay back despite their newly granted degrees. Its latest tool is the Education Department’s long-debated “gainful employment” rule, which requires colleges to track their graduates’ performance in the workforce and eventually will cut off funding for career training programs that fall short.

The rule — upheld by a court ruling last week and set to take effect Wednesday — will trigger the closure of 1,400 programs that together enroll 840,000 students, the department has estimated. Ninety-nine percent of those students attend for-profits.

The regulation is part of a broader series of crackdowns on the industry by agencies including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, along with investigations, lawsuits and fines from states and blistering criticism from Democrats like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and ####### Durbin. Some major college operators have begun closing or selling campuses under the onslaught.

Supporters call the regulatory moves long overdue. But the industry denounces them as a witch hunt.

“We’ve come to expect these unjust assaults,” said Gene Feichtner, president and chief operating officer of the huge for-profit chain ITT Technical Institute, which has been sued by CFPB, faces fraud charges from SEC and is under investigation by 16 state attorneys general. “Let there be no presumption here that we believe we’ll be treated fairly.”

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