That’s roughly $32 billion these poor quality private schools get from taxpayers. How does the industry get access to this funding despite its poor performance? It spends millions of dollars on lobbying.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) just put out a report examining the abuses by for-profit colleges and the enormous amount of federal funding they receive through Title IV programs and military benefits.
Let’s look at some of these schools and the massive return on investment they got in 2010 from their lobbying dollars:
Capella: Capella Education runs the for-profit college Capella University. According to Harkin’s report, the school has a 60 percent withdrawal rate for students seeking a Bachelor’s Degree. Despite that horrible performance, it is generously rewarded by federal dollars. In 2010, it received $337,816,641 in federal funds. That same year, it spent $180,000 lobbying the federal government. That’s a 187,000 percent return on investment.
Bridgepoint: Bridgepoint Education Incorporated $546,964,541 in federal dollars during the 2010 fiscal year. At the same time, it spent $300,000 lobbying. That’s a 182,000 percent return on investment. Its Bridgepoint University has a whopping 63 percent withdrawal rate for students seeking their Bachelor’s.
DeVry: DeVry logged a 56 percent withdrawal rate for students pursuing Bachelor’s degrees. In 2010, it spent $520,000 lobbying the federal government. Meanwhile, it raked in $1,247,831,420 in federal funds. That’s a huge 239,867 percent return on investment.
It should be noted that these schools are getting these funds through aid disbursement given to students (most schools are getting little in direct federal subsidies). However, the Obama administration has made several attempts to disqualify schools that have particularly poor performance from getting these funds. These attempts have been defeated with the support of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress who are being swayed by the industry’s lobbyists and campaign cash.
If we want to stop this massive bailout of an industry that continues to poorly serve students, veterans, and taxpayers, we have to tackle the broken campaign finance and lobbying systems that let special interests run the government. Click here to help us do that by joining our campaign to Take Back Democracy.