On Friday, Cokie Roberts, senior news analyst at NPR, predicted that Democratic lawmakers, in particular, will be reluctant to aggressively regulate for-profit colleges because of their ties to the Washington Post, one of the nation’s most powerful newspapers. The Washington Post Co. owns Kaplan University, among other for-profits.
“But I have to tell you, the biggest objection to [regulation] has come from the fact that The Washington Post would go out of business if Kaplan went out of business – yes, I see Peter Smith waiving,” Roberts said with a chuckle. “Because The Washington Post money all comes from Kaplan and the Democrats don’t want The Washington Post to go out of business, so I think there are a lot of forces militating against those rules at the moment.”
While the Post maintains the independence of its newsroom, its editorial page has argued against new rules such as the "gainful employment" regulation proposed by the U.S. Department of Education.
The gainful employment rule is a quality measure that restricts federal financial aid to those for-profits that have a student repayment rate of 45% or better in an effort to ensure that the education students pay for results in employment with adequate compensation.
Currently, many for-profit colleges such as Everest College, do not meet this standard. As a result, students who are frequently paying $20,000 to $70,000 for their educations graduate with debts they have no possibility of repaying.
Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and Milwaukee Congresswoman Gwen Moore are among those who support the gainful employment regulation