Who cares about students as higher education becomes big business?

The Justice Department plans to intervene in a whistle-blower lawsuit charging that one of the nation’s largest for-profit college companies, the Education Management Corporation, defrauded the government by illegally paying recruiters based on the number of students they enrolled, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Monday.

Tamar Lewin, in the New York Times, May 2, 2011


In a May 11, 2011, memo, William Taggert, Chief Operating Officer, Federal Student Aid, said, “The draft FY 2009 national student loan cohort default rate is 8.9 percent. The draft rate increased from the national FY 2008 official rate of 7.0 percent and the national FY 2007 official rate of 6.7 percent.”

These are the highest default rates on record with some commentators suggesting a rise to 30% in the next year or two. College debt cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. College admissions officials seeking to grow enrollments by accepting students unprepared to achieve success is an act that is nearly criminal. The justice department may declare it to be so. Traditional public and private institutions may be guilty of the same indiscretion under the guise of providing opportunity.