Stand Up for Students and Taxpayers: Regulate For-Profit Colleges
  • Petitioned Arne Duncan

This petition was delivered to:

U.S. Secretary of Education
Arne Duncan
President of the United States
U.S. Senate

Stand Up for Students and Taxpayers: Regulate For-Profit Colleges

    1. Sponsored by

      Education Trust

If you made $42,000,000 per year, wouldn’t you want to maintain the status quo? 

That’s how much the president of one for-profit college company was paid in 2009. And that may be the reason why the industry’s lobbying and PR machine has launched a full-court press to thwart the U.S. Department of Education’s attempts to regulate these institutions. 

No question: The sector needs regulation. Too many for-profit students end up like Michigan resident Brian M., an Air Force veteran and father of three. Brian went to a for-profit college to get a bachelor’s degree in computer programming. Recruiters rushed him into a contract—and waited until after he signed it to tell him that his federal financial aid wouldn’t cover his tuition, meaning he also needed to take out a fortune in high-cost private loans. Several years and more than $70,000 later, Brian says his degree is virtually worthless—employers are unimpressed by the credential, making him eligible only for low-paid work, the quality of his education was so poor that he has a steep learning curve at new jobs, and he faces the very real fear that he’ll never get into an advanced degree program—except by returning to that for-profit.

 “What they’re charging for what you’re getting – it’s not right,” he said.

Things end up worse for the many students who don’t even get a degree—just the debt. For example, among students seeking bachelor’s degrees, the University of Phoenix’s six-year graduation rate is a paltry 9 percent. And even though for-profits only make up 12 percent of enrollments and 24 percent of federal loan dollars, they produce 43 percent of federal loan defaults. What’s even more maddening? The American people are unwittingly the single largest investor in these companies—to the tune of about $24 billion in federal student financial aid in 2008-09 alone—despite the fact that these institutions are not graduating their students. 

The for-profits want to keep their businesses booming. Recently, in a sleazy (but shrewd) political maneuver, they successfully lobbied the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to pass an amendment that would cut off the funding for regulation of their most toxic programs.

Please join us in standing up for students and taxpayers. Urge your senators to block this effort.

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 10 signatures
    2. From Campus Progress: For-profit college lobbyists tell students to keep quiet about how much student loan debt they have:

    3. Reached 8 signatures
    4. Top Chef All Star Gets For-Profit College Issue Wrong:

    5. Experts agree that the Senate must take action, now. From the San Francisco Chronicle: For-profit schools must be better regulated

    6. From Bloomberg News: Military's Aid to For-Profit Colleges Needs Oversight, Investigators Say

    7. Reached 6 signatures
    8. Minnesota Daily editorial on for-profit college regulations:

    9. The Des Moines Register shares an infuriating story: A for-profit graduate in gaming and design who was counted by his college as "gainfully employed" w/ an $8.90/hr job at Toys R Us because he was helping people pick video games

    10. Reached 5 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Holly Pedit WEST RICHALND, WA
      • over 3 years ago

      Agreed – the system needs to change. But the very fact that higher education is a competitive INDUSTRY and the POLITICIANS are PUSHING people to get higher education when they have no idea that the degree for many is worthless is what is killing graduates.

      And in an economy that is a virtual wasteland they are pushing those at highest RISK of defaulting into going into college???? I would like to kick the shins of one state rep who is so proud of her record for getting “Moms back to school” last year.

      And THIS, dear friends is only one small part of the whole problem,,,,,,,

    • Joseph Hunter DALLAS, TX
      • over 3 years ago

      The problem is not the students it’s more like the system. Student loans are very hard to pay back when you don't have a job. Many students are penalized for defaulting on a loan. Which they intended to pay but can't get a job because the system is so damaged, by pass politicians who were in office and who are still in office. Don't take it out on the students, tax payers, or the teachers take it out of your own pockets. Cut your pay but most of all stop over charging college students, and promising them jobs. America were suppose to be a family not enemies its time we think with our hearts and not with our greed.

    • Anthony Sacco CHICAGO, IL
      • over 3 years ago

      indebted students are killing themselves. Did you know that?

    • Maria Thurman ATLANTA, GA
      • over 3 years ago

      I am also carrying a degree that has not paid off and I am $50,000 in the hole for it.

    • angela periandri CLEVELAND, OH
      • over 3 years ago

      Iam a mom and a wife who is try to send daughter to school will not do profit collages husband wants to go back and devry called and told us 30 fo ass,54thousand for batchlers silly stupid I told that to kissmy you know what I guess he stays stupid... yea fo education.


    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.