In response to for-profit colleges' escalating student loan default rates and deceptive recruitment practices the federal government has proposed tough new regulations.
In response,these lucrative diploma mills like Corinthian College Inc. and the Education Development Management Corporation (EDMC) which have announced plans to begin operations in Milwaukee are spending millions of dollars on lobbyists to undermine the legislation.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that:
For-profit lobbyists and executives are swarming Capitol Hill and federal agencies...
For-profit colleges, faced with the threat of program closures, have gone on a lobbying and public-relations blitz, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in an attempt to beat back an Education Department proposal to cut off federal student aid to for-profit programs whose graduates carry high debt-to-income loads.
In the five months since the department offered its controversial "gainful-employment proposal," for-profit colleges and their chief association have spent at least $620,000 lobbying members of Congress, the Education Department, and the Office of Management and Budget, which is reviewing the department's proposed rule (see related article, with tables). The University of Phoenix, the nation's largest for-profit institution, has taken out ads in major publications, including The Chronicle, defending the sector and arguing against the rule, while for-profit colleges are urging their students to sign on to a petition opposing the plan.
Last year, Corinthian alone spent $460,000 and the EDMC $270,000. In 2009-2010Proprietary colleges spent a total of $3.1 million on lobbying.
Lobbying by For-Profit College Groups, 2009-10
Apollo Group Inc. $560,000
Corinthian Colleges Inc. $460,000
DeVry Inc. $460,000
Career Education Corp. $360,000
Bridgepoint Education $270,000
Education Management Corp. $270,000
Career College Association $250,000
American Public University System $240,000
Kaplan Inc. $200,000
Capella University $60,000
ITT Educational Services Inc. $30,000
Concorde Career Colleges Inc. $20,000
Notes on lobbying expenditures: Figures are approximate because federal rules do not require reporting of actual amounts of lobbying expenditures. To avoid double-counting of outside lobbyist expenses, The Chronicle took into account that organizations employing in-house lobbyists must include the costs of outside lobbyists in their quarterly reports. Figures show spending for all of the 2009 calendar year and the first quarter of 2010.
Source: Chronicle analysis of Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, U.S. Senate