REPUBLIC REPORT: GOP Candidates Compete In For-Profit College Primary

Career College Central Summary:

  • As the 2012 GOP nomination contest neared the critical Iowa caucuses, Mitt Romney was asked by the Ames (Iowa) Tribune editorial board what he planned to do about higher education. Romney’s response (VIDEO) was crystal clear: He liked for-profit colleges, especially a Florida school called Full Sail University.  It turned out that Full Sail’s owners were among Romney’s top donors.
  • And that, it seemed, was the point: Although other GOP candidates that year, including Newt Gingrich, had personal and financial ties to the wealthy for-profit college industry, Romney, who denounced Obama Administration efforts to curb industry abuses, won that year’s for-profit college cash primary en route to the overall financial competition and, eventually, the nomination prize. Then the industry heavily funded Romney’s general election campaign against President Obama.
  • The lesson has not been not lost on the 2016 GOP candidates. For-profit colleges, which have been taking $30 billion or more a year in taxpayer money, not only have cash, but they also have a huge stake in federal policy. Many get 85 percent of more of their revenue from the federal government, and the industry is determined to halt new regulations and enforcement efforts pursued under the Obama Administration to try to channel federal money away from poorly-performing, predatory schools that leave many students much worse off from when they started. With Hillary Clinton now attacking such predatory colleges on the campaign trail, industry executives have big incentive to again provide big campaign dollars in hopes of having a friend in the White House come 2017, so they can go back to their old ways: deceiving and abusing students, and cashing their federal financial aid checks.
  • So even though the for-profit college industry is now publicly discredited and on the ropes, facing collapsing enrollments, plummeting share prices, and growing federal and state law enforcement investigations, some GOP White House candidates are now brazenly competing for cash in the 2016 for-profit college primary…

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