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Student Stories: The Devastating Impact of Some For-Profits

The post and video below are from CNNMoney

Students across the country are shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for degrees that end up being completely worthless.

Many For-Profit College Companies Deliver Broken Promises and Failed Dreams

If you watch daytime or late-night TV, you’ve seen the slick, 30-second commercials that promise down-on-their-luck viewers a fairy godmother-like solution – a quick, affordable, college-level education that provides hands-on experience and positions students to land their dream job. If you want proof of the quality of these career education programs, the commercials continue, look no further than the myriad of success stories of their graduates.

Yesterday’s Boston Globe article, “For-profit colleges get harsh grades by former students: Graduates complain of onerous debt, unmet promises about careers,” paints a more realistic story of what actually happens to former students of these schools, such as:

Continue to Put Pressure on the Department of Education for a Strong Gainful Rule

With the public comment period for the proposed “gainful employment” regulations long closed, we have time to look back at what we’ve accomplished and see what work is still to be done.

With the help of borrowers, students, parents, and advocates from around the country, tens of thousands of comments were submitted to the U.S. Department of Education urging them to issue a stronger final “gainful employment” rule.

Burned by a Career-Ed Program: Real and Raw Student Stories

The U.S. Department of Education plans to release its final "gainful employment" rule in October 2014. The draft rule, circulated by the department earlier this year, proposed cutting off access to federal financial aid for career-education programs (many of which are at for-profit colleges) whose graduates have high student loan default rates or high levels of student loan debt relative to their incomes. It is essential that the department adopt a final rule with strong protections for students.

During the month of May we asked students to submit their stories as public comments on the department’s draft “gainful employment” rule. Many of the student victims who have been exploited and defrauded by career-education programs offered compelling evidence of the need for stronger protections. Here’s what some of them had to say:

First Come, Last Served

University Does Not Do Enough to Accommodate First-Generation Students

This blog was cross-posted from The Chicago Maroon, by Lynda Lopez

Recently, UChicago has shown an increased commitment to recruiting low-income students through initiatives such as QuestBridge and UChicago Promise. Fifty-one students in the Class of 2018 received full four-year scholarships through QuestBridge, the highest among all 35 partner colleges; 73 students in the Class of 2017 benefited from UChicago Promise, which includes a guarantee of no loans for Chicago residents who attended Chicago high schools and are admitted to the College.

All these initiatives are great, but what happens after these students arrive on campus? Many of them are also first-generation, meaning they are the first in their families to attend college.

Being a low-income, first-generation college student can be like jumping into a pool without knowing how to swim. As the daughter of immigrants with no college graduates in my family, I didn’t have a good idea of what to do once I was here. I didn’t know how to ask professors or TAs for help or how to pick the right classes. Everything was foreign to me.