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Ohio's U.S. Sen. Brown Wants More Oversight of For-Profit Schools

photo of Sherrod Brown

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown is calling on the U.S. Department of Education for more oversight of for-profit colleges.

Brown wants the department to investigate Cincinnati-based Antonelli College, which lost its accreditation from the Ohio Board of Nursing just before this year’s class was expected to graduate. That means Antonelli’s nursing students can’t take board certification tests.

The Democratic senator says part of the reason so many students attend for-profit schools is aggressive marketing "and a lot more help finding financing because that’s how they pad their bottom line.

"Cincinnati State (Technical and Community College) doesn’t have the same marketing budget because they’re putting their money into education.”

Last year, Brown introduced a bill that would increase penalties for for-profit colleges -- and their executives – if they misrepresent graduation rates or employment prospects. Brown says for-profit colleges represent just 12 percent of all post-secondary students but account for nearly half of all student-loan defaults.

Brown also wants the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to do more for students attending for-profit colleges.

He says a rule needs to be changed that allows the schools to get their profits only from federal student aid dollars. The so-called 90/10 loophole allows schools to get 90 percent of a student’s tuition in federal aid, and the other 10 percent from the G.I. Bill. Brown says that’s a problem for more than just student veterans.

Sen. Brown on student veterans

“They don’t just defraud students; they rip-off taxpayers. The American people get it both ways: students don’t graduate, or they graduate with huge debt. The government’s paid a lot of money in student grants, and the student doesn’t have the degree that was promised.”

Last year, Brown introduced legislation that would make the G.I. Bill money part of the 90 percent cap, and eliminate the 90/10 rule. Brown says in the past five years, 40 percent of G.I. Bill tuition benefits have gone to the for-profit sector.