Reining in the Predatory Nature of For-Profit Colleges

Despite the alarming growth of for-profit colleges in recent years, such colleges are not exempt from harsh and relentless criticisms, ranging from alleged unethical recruiting practices to exorbitant, unparalleled tuition costs. This Note exposes the predatory practices of for-profit colleges, where for-profit colleges target vulnerable populations, particularly the poor and minorities; provide low quality education, exemplified through abysmal graduation rates and a general lack of postgraduate employment opportunities; conduct frivolous spending focused primarily on marketing and executive salaries; and leave students with unprecedented levels of nondischargeable debt. This Note addresses potential public and private remedies for addressing abuses by for-profit colleges and proposes several federal, state-specific, and individual solutions, arguing that various federal proposals should be adopted, states should continue to pass effective legislation, and qui tam whistleblower actions should be encouraged and facilitated. The United States must take a stand against the predatory nature of for-profit colleges to preserve the integrity and future of America’s higher education system.