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US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. For profit higher education: The failure to safeguard the federal investment and ensure student success. Author, Washington, DC, 2012. Pages: 249.
This report concludes a two-year investigation by the US Senate of the for-profit higher education sector during which 6 congressional hearings were held, three previous reports were compiled and 30 selected companies were examined in depth. Authors of the report are highly critical of the sector across many different areas and question whether the federal money invested in the sector through student aid and loan programmes are safeguarded, especially in the light of low completion rates (just over 50%). When coupled with a relatively high level of spending by for profit institutions on marketing and recruitment (22.4 % of all revenue) as compared to only 17.7 % on instruction and teaching, the picture painted looks rather bleak.
Nonetheless, the Committee recognises the important role for- profit institutions play in the US higher education landscape, in particular, catering to non-traditional and minority students. The report also includes a number of suggestions for changes which include a stronger focus on student completion rates and transparency, as well as potentially linking federal funding to student success.United States Senate