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For-profit colleges: worse than payday loans

May 14, 2015

There are a surprising number of industries whose business plan is some twist on how to extract money from the poor and the foolish. But most of these, such as the payday loan industry, at least provide some initial value to their marks. The for-profit colleges that are designed to originate student loans not only saddle their marks with long-term debt, but also divert their time to earning what typically are useless vocational degrees. Fortunately, their reputation now precedes them. Community colleges are the much better alternative, with real vocational programs from med tech to welding, and with real concern for their students. Now that federal regulators have forced Corinthian College out of business, they should pursue the rest. Ultimately, we need to revamp or eliminate the student loan system that feeds this beast. Future generations will look back on this time and wonder how we so mismanaged higher education policy that it opened the door to a blatant scam on our young. Shame on Mark Rubio for getting behind this industry. And shame on Bobby Jindal for the same.

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