Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday called on Senate leaders to ensure that for profit-colleges do not receive any more coronavirus stimulus aid in further rounds of relief legislation, reported Politico.
Last month, Congress allotted more than $1 billion to for-profit colleges as part of a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, reported the Associated Press.
“The massive growth, widespread fraud, and poor outcomes of the for-profit college industry during and after the 2008 financial crisis contributed to the historic student debt crisis we face today,” they wrote in a letter to Senate leaders. “We do not wish to see history repeat itself.”
The letter was signed by 14 other Democrats as well as Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Separately, consumer and student advocacy organizations also cautioned legislators to ensure that relief funds allocated through the CARES Act “are not used to perpetuate or reward predatory practices in higher education.”
Representatives of 42 such organizations on Tuesday wrote to legislators and to the Congressional Oversight Commission that oversees the coronavirus stimulus legislation. They said recent data from the Department of Education show that operators of for-profit chains, including Fortis Institute, Empire Beauty School and Lincoln Technical Institute, will likely receive a significant portion of CARES Act relief funds, despite previous actions by federal and state law enforcement agencies to halt illegal practices by these companies.
“Because these institutions are being entrusted with taxpayer dollars through the CARES Act, it is critical that for-profit institutions receiving these funds be subject to additional oversight. At a minimum, you must ensure that CARES Act funds are not misused or misappropriated by any school operated by individuals with a direct financial interest in the institution,” said the letter.