For-profit American colleges may be making their money by preying on the mentally ill in order to capture federal student loan money. That’s one of the shocking takeaways from this New York Times piece on a suit against the for-profit Premier Education Group:
The most striking allegations against Premier involve students who were not capable of doing the work because they lacked the mental stability, academic skills or English proficiency, yet were kept on the books so the schools could collect their federal aid, which requires that a certain percentage of students make progress toward completion. When teachers gave them failing marks, the former employees charge, administrators changed the grades and falsified the attendance records.
Premier’s and other for-profit schools’ alleged abuses are especially troubling, but the basic systemic problem extends to non-profit university education as well. More than half of all college students are now on federal aid of one kind or another. This amounts to a subsidy system that allows universities to raise prices and avoid reform. The Premier schools are only one of the more extreme examples of this unacceptable status quo.