Home News Can For-Profit Colleges Rebound? – Education Next

Can For-Profit Colleges Rebound? – Education Next

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This year’s meeting of the for-profit higher-education industry’s principal membership association was held at Walt Disney World—which, for the 1,000 people who attended, might have seemed the second most magical place on earth.

First place, at the moment, is Washington, D.C., where friends and allies have created a regulatory reprieve after years of scrutiny under the Obama administration for the for-profits, also known as proprietary or career schools. The Trump administration has softened or eliminated many of the rules that had targeted for-profits and brought down some of the sector’s biggest players, such as barring schools from the federal student-aid program if too many students failed to find gainful employment after graduation. And investigations into the schools’ misdeeds seem to have been shelved.

So the mood in the exhibit hall at “C-Q”—the annual meeting of Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU)—was upbeat, even as it was tempered by anxieties of another kind. Enrollment is in free fall, thanks to an improving labor market and stepped-up competition from public community colleges. Nervous accreditors are cracking down. And states across the country are stepping up regulation and enforcement, taking over where federal agencies have left off.

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