U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) met with the Illinois Principals Association to discuss for-profit colleges and K-12 education issues.
WASHINGTON — In light of federal investigations and the impending closure of Corinthian Colleges Inc. – a for-profit college that has six campuses in Illinois under the name Everest College – U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin recently met with members of the Illinois Principals Association.
The closest Everest campus to the Metro East is in Earth City, Mo.
Durbin urged them to ensure that Illinois’ high school students are receiving honest and accurate information about the risks associated with the for-profit college industry. On average, for-profit schools leave their students with more debt than traditional schools and account for 46 percent of student loan defaults. Corinthian’s impending closure puts an estimated 3,300 Illinois students at risk of being stranded without a quality school to finish their studies.
“Over the years, many for-profit colleges have built a reputation of irresponsibility when it comes to their students. I want to make sure that, in Illinois, we are doing everything in our power to help the next generation of students understand the serious financial risks associated with these colleges,” Durbin said. “Illinois high school principals are important partners in that effort.”
In April, Durbin wrote the principals to call their attention to the “often irresistible lure of for-profit colleges,” many of which are facing increased scrutiny from federal and state regulators for a variety of abuses including fraudulent marketing and recruiting practices, falsifying job placement rates, and predatory lending practices. Durbin asked the principals to make their students aware of all of their options for accessible, affordable higher education, including programs at community college and other not-for-profit institutions.
Durbin wrote a letter to Community Colleges across Illinois to help make certain that the 3,300 Illinois students at Corinthian College campuses have the option to continue or restart their education at quality, affordable institutions. A copy of that letter is available here.
According to a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education, five for-profit institutions in Illinois are facing investigations or lawsuits by the Illinois Attorney General or federal agencies. Those institutions are listed below:
- Career Education Corp. (operates International Academy of Design and Technology, American Intercontinental University, Harrington College of Design, Le Cordon Bleu, Sanford Brown)
- Corinthian Colleges, Inc. (operates Everest Colleges)
- Education Management Corporation (operates The Illinois Institutes of Art, Argosy University)
- ITT Educational Services Inc. (operates ITT Technical Institutes)
- Kaplan (operates Kaplan University Online)
In April, Durbin introduced the Proprietary Education Oversight Coordination Improvement Act with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). The bill would improve coordination between federal agencies that oversee the for-profit college industry. Through the establishment of an interagency oversight committee, the bill aims to improve enforcement of federal laws and regulations while increasing accountability of for-profit colleges to students and taxpayers. U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has introduced the bill in the House of Representatives as well.