Today’s Wall Street Journal has an excellent lead editorial on the attack that prominent Democrats have launched against the for-profit higher-education sector.
The editorial correctly identifies the root of the problem as being government-subsidized student loans, stating that the best policy would be to have “no taxpayer loan subsidies for any colleges, profit or nonprofit.” Exactly. Federal financial aid to students has pernicious consequences. Easy money for students combined with the administration’s message that the country “needs” many more college graduates lest we “fall behind” other countries (a silly notion that I’ve attacked frequently, most recently here) does make it possible for unscrupulous for-profit schools to lure in a lot of students who are wasting their time and money. But, the editorial observes, the non-profit sector isn’t any different.
Why does the administration want to impose draconian, overly broad, potentially ruinous rules on the for-profits alone? Evidently it’s the old leftist animosity toward capitalism at work. It’s hard to conclude otherwise from comments like this from Education Secretary Duncan: “Some proprietary schools have profited and prospered, and this is a disservice to students and to taxpayers.”