The Strategies of For-Profits

Stephen Burd, author of the Monthly’s November/December feature,”The Subprime Student Loan Racket,” on the for-profit college industry, had an interesting piece up yesterday on the New America Foundation blog about the lobbying strategies of proprietary schools. Using an internal strategy memo from the Career College Association he obtained, Burd says that,

The strategy memo provides a revealing look into the mind-set of an organization that has grown all too-accustomed to flexing its muscles on Capitol Hill and getting its way — no matter how much controversy is swirling around its schools.

At the top of CCA’s legislative agenda is to get Congress to further weaken the “90-10” rule, which has long required for-profit colleges to obtain at least 10 percent of their revenue from sources other than federal student aid in order to continue participating in the government’s financial aid programs.

For-profit colleges obtain the majority of their funding, three quarters of it, from federal grants and loans. At some schools federal money accounts for 86 percent of revenue. These schools, understandably, have an interest in allowing federal money to make up as much of their budgets as they can.

The CCA memo makes for interesting reading. While for-profit schools are a contentious issue, the document makes it clear that attitudes about these schools do not necessarily fall along party lines. Career colleges seem to have allies in both parties.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer