House Oversight Subcommittee Criticizes For-Profit Oversight Under DeVos

By Allie Bidwell, NASFAA Senior Reporter

The House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy on Wednesday held a hearing focused on oversight of the for-profit college sector, during which Democrats and Republicans took starkly different stances on how to address college accountability, prevention of waste, fraud, and abuse, and student loan debt.

While Democrats pointed to abuses within the for-profit education sector, school closures that have left students in the lurch, and the Department of Education’s (ED) attempts to rewrite federal regulations related to for-profit oversight as reason for concern, Republicans claimed there have been abuses and poor outcomes in all sectors of higher education, and any regulatory oversight should be applied to all institutions. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), ranking member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, added that for-profit institutions fill a need for students that other sectors do not currently provide.

The witnesses included ED’s Acting Under Secretary Diane Auer JonesRobert Infusino, a former student of the for-profit Illinois Institute of Art; Lindsey Burke, director of the Center for Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation; Christopher Madaio, an assistant attorney general for the Consumer Protection Division of Maryland’s Office of the Attorney General; and David Halperin, an attorney and counselor.

The subcommittee Chairman Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) opened the hearing by recounting the rapid growth of the for-profit sector, followed by the collapse of two large for-profit college chains—Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech—which prompted increased regulatory oversight from the Obama administration.

“At the heart of these collapses are students determined to improve their career and life prospects through the promise of… (Continue reading)