There are a plethora of higher education options for those seeking degrees, both non-profit and for-profit universities provide ample opportunities. However, most students have to take out loans from the federal government in order to attend. The issue that arises is when some of these schools turn out to be not so legitimate.
Many for-profit universities provide a legitimate and rewarding education to students, although the cost is high. However, when the federal government provides these loans to fraudulent universities, the only people who suffer are the students.
On average, 86 percent of the profit for private colleges is from federally provided loans. Student debt is growing to $1.3 trillion with many defaulting on their loans. Government accreditors approving these loans have to put more effort into ensuring this does not continue.
Student loans for private (and to a lesser extent, public) schools are approved by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools which is slowly being dismantled due to their lack of oversight and presumed corruption.
Former Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell stated this about the ACICS, “When we see schools provide extremely poor outcomes for students – or even commit fraud – while maintaining accreditation, that is a black mark on the entire field.”
The current job market has already become a minefield. There are many graduates accumulating inexhaustible debt from illicit schools preventing them from beginning careers in their chosen fields. Companies will not hire people who have graduated from an unofficial or unlicensed university.
These universities are made possible by the federal government loan programs. The ACICS allows colleges without any recognition (for example, the Corinthian scandal) to collect tens of thousands from unwitting students. The college receives its money, loans have to be paid in addition to huge amounts of interest, and the debt bubble just grows.
The only possible way for these scams to die out is if the federal government no longer grants these schemes any sort of loans or assistance. Students also must be informed when applying for loans if their university is a valid place for higher education.
Only 11 percent of students account for private universities, but they make up 44 percent of the total federal student loan defaults. Debt is constantly growing while these students are unable to provide for themselves despite graduating with what they thought was an acceptable degree.
Another possible solution is for the federal government to impose new rules and regulations on the ACICS or whichever future agency that will be used to determine student loan grants.
The regulations have to set the same bar for each university. Currently, individual accreditors set their own personal standards when it comes to accepting a university for federal loans. This also is a contributing factor to the problem.
ACICS’ members should also be held to the same standards as some other government officials. In order to avoid corruption, any accreditor should not be allowed to accept any gifts from prospective universities.
Accreditors are largely responsible for the financial and intellectual future of many American students. These provisions must be taken in order to prevent the further disenfranchisement of students of all ages and backgrounds.