Last week the U.S. Department of Education fined Corinthian Colleges nearly $30 million for misrepresenting job placement rates at its Heald College chain in California. It turns out that this for-profit education company had been skewing its job prospects advertisements for students after graduation. The department conducted an investigation which revealed that Heald promoted false advertising. Examples of violations include some of the following:
- The for-profit college paid companies to hire its graduates for as few as two days. The college then counted those graduates in its placement rates.
- One criminal justice program boasted a 100 percent placement rate, but the college had removed almost 60 percent of the graduates from the calculation by deeming them unavailable for employment.
- In other cases, Corinthian counted graduates as employed even though they were clearly not working in their field of study. For example, the department said, Corinthian claimed that a graduate of an accounting program working in a food service job at Taco Bell was employed in her field.
As a result of this misleading information, as well as the poor job placement for graduates of Heald, the department placed a large fine on the company and as of yesterday, ordered Corinthian Colleges’ campuses in California to stop enrolling students. It claims that this is to protect the best interests of potential students who could fall into greater debt to pay for an education that doesn’t actually help them obtain a job in that field. But not only is the government taking steps to shut down this avenue of education to protect students, it has proposed a resolution to the debt incurred for their “worthless” education.The department and state seem to be responding to Obama’s administrative goals to improve students’ educational debt problem as a result of student loans. Officials are considering ways to make it easier for some former Corinthian students to have their federal student loans canceled. Student borrowers are also arguing that they shouldn’t have to repay the federal loans they took out to attend the for-profit college.
“It’s a step in the right direction but the real issue here is that these students who were the victim of Corinthian need a full refund and the chance to start over.”
I was impressed by the government’s proactive and harsh punishment of Heal colleges for taking advantage of students. It took a stand and said that such treatment of students is not right. As a school known for online and trade school programs, many of these students are attending this college because it is more affordable and “guarantees” a better paying job after graduation. I think the students have a right to be outraged now that the results of the investigation have been released, and I am glad they have someone in their corner to help fight for them.