Biden Has Promised to Crack Down on Troubled For-Profit Colleges. Some Are Already in Peril. – The Chronicle of Higher Education
By nearly every measure, the chain of colleges operated by the nonprofit Center for Excellence in Higher Education has big problems.
The colleges, previously part of the for-profit-college empire of Carl Barney, have all been put on probation by their accreditor since 2018 because of low graduation and job-placement rates and of questions about the accuracy of information provided to the accreditor. All but two of the chain’s 15 locations are in the process of shutting down.
The center and its colleges are under investigation by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has also filed a lawsuit in the matter, to compel the center to provide testimony concerning the organization’s private student loan program. Last year a Colorado court found the center and its leadership guilty of consumer fraud and fined it $3 million.
Despite all that, the colleges remain eligible to receive tens of millions of dollars in federal student aid under a temporary agreement with the U.S. Department of Education. But the deal could come to an end, experts say, under a presidential administration bent on bringing more scrutiny to proprietary colleges. And without the flow of federal dollars, the colleges could be forced to close.
The center’s colleges are among more than 130 institutions, nearly all for-profits, that operate under a provisional, or month-to-month, agreement with the department because of questionable operations or a proposed change of ownership, according to a recent report by the Century Foundation. The arrangements give the department wide-ranging authority to kick colleges out of the federal student-aid program, said Yan Cao, a senior fellow at the foundation and one of the report’s authors.