US: For-profit colleges: educators or predators?

When Yasmine Issa found herself, at 24, unemployed and a recently divorced mother of twins, she turned to the Sanford-Brown Institute, a for-profit college in White Plains, New York, that offered an ultrasound sonography programme and promised her job-placement opportunities, writes Elizabeth Dias for Time. But a completed programme and $15,000 in federal loans later, Issa missed the catch: the programme was not accredited. "I was somebody no one wanted to hire," she says.

Issa testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee as part of a new investigation into federal investment in higher education. Congress last instituted reforms in the for-profit education sector two decades ago, but federal aid to students at for-profit schools has rapidly increased, approaching $24 billion last year, with an additional $36 billion Pell Grant boost approved in March. A report released late last month by chairman Senator Tom Harkin found that up to 90% of for-profit schools' revenue comes from Washington and that for-profit students are graduating with more debt than students at public or private non-profit universities. With 96% of proprietary students taking out loans, and nearly half of them defaulting, taxpayers foot the bill.
Full report on the Time magazine site