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For-Profit Colleges Probed, Repubs Boycott Hearing

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A June 7th hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee is set, but Republicans plan to boycott the probe into debt levels among students of for-profit higher educations.

The dispute is the latest battleground in wrangling between the parties on the practices of higher education institutes charging students often astronomical fees that come in the form of federally guaranteed loans- but often don’t translate to actual, physical jobs after graduation. A recent move to mandate basic English tests on admission (to ensure foreign students doomed to failure due to a lack of English proficiency were not admitted) was similarly opposed by Republicans in California.

It’s interesting how the party consistently selling itself as the most fiscally responsible is so loathe to regulate one of the last great money orgies in this country. In a letter sent late last month critiquing the investigation, top ranking panel Repub Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY) went so far as to suggest the hearings were retaliatory against schools that resisted the implementation of fairer practices:

“We are troubled by statements from the Majority staff suggesting that the continuation of this investigation is motivated in part by a desire to embarrass the institutions you were unable to persuade to participate in previous hearings,” the letter says.

Among the complaints of those calling for legislation are that the institutions value ability to pay tuition over merit, use of “high-pressure sales techniques” among potential students, siphoning federal aid and turning out class after class of unemployable, debt-ridden students.

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