Brown, Warren Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Protect Students from Predatory For-Profit Colleges

Senators’ Legislation Would End Taxpayer Subsidies to For-profit Colleges, Help Protect Students from Predatory Practices

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced legislation to protect students from the predatory practices of for-profit colleges by ending taxpayer subsidies to these schools. The Students Not Profits Act would also remove for-profit colleges as part of the definition that makes them eligible to receive Title IV Federal student aid funds, including Pell Grants, Perkins loans, and TEACH Grants. Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-07) has introduced the House version of the bill.

“For too long, for-profit colleges have wreaked havoc in Ohio and across the country,” said Brown. “Thousands of students, a disproportionate number of whom are low-income and students of color, have been left with nearly worthless degrees and credits, limited job prospects, and tens of thousands of dollars in loan debt because these companies defrauded them. Taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for these institutions.”

“For-profit colleges have survived by sucking down billions in taxpayer dollars as they cheat students and load them up with debt for worthless degrees. Tinkering around the edges with more regulations will not work as long as for-profit colleges continue to use taxpayer dollars to buy influence in Washington. I support the Students Not Profits Act because we finally need to end this corruption and stop subsidizing for-profit colleges’ scams,” said Warren. 

“The Students Not Profits Act is a bold plan to stop predatory, for-profit institutions from exploiting disadvantaged students striving for a better future through higher education,” said Rep. Jayapal. “I met with students who were left with burdensome debt, incomplete degrees and few options for recourse after the for-profit Art Institute of Seattle abruptly closed earlier this year. It’s time for taxpayers to stop subsidizing the institutions that put hardworking students through this heartbreaking mess.”

For-profit colleges often aggressively recruit low-income students, students of color and veterans, while exacerbating racial and income disparities. The Leadership Conference Education Fund released a report just last week, detailing the exploitation of Black and Latino students by for-profit colleges. The report was signed by a number of national education and civil rights organizations.

The Students Not Profits Act is endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers, Americans for Financial Reform, the Debt Collective, Demos, and the Project on Predatory Student Lending.

“Institutions of higher education that put profits before people drag down our entire system, preying on low-income students and students of color who are trying to access a better future by going to college,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. “These for-profit colleges rely almost solely on federal financial aid to fund their institutions and, in turn, generate very few graduates and a disproportionate amount of student loan debt and defaults. This fraudulent corporate model has already had catastrophic consequences for an entire generation and is in desperate need of stricter regulation. Ultimately, the Students Not Profits Act will protect future students from fraud, deception and harm.”