This is what deregulation looks like

So, at first you may just see this from the NYT as a sad story about for-profit college gone awry and the many unfortunate students who are left in its wake:

When the Education Department approved a proposal by Dream Center, a Christian nonprofit with no experience in higher education, to buy a troubled chain of for-profit colleges, skeptics warned that the charity was unlikely to pull off the turnaround it promised.

What they didn’t foresee was just how quickly and catastrophically it would fail.

Barely a year after the takeover, dozens of Dream Center campuses are nearly out of money and may close as soon as Friday. More than a dozen others have been sold in the hope they can survive.

The affected schools — Argosy University, South University and the Art Institutes — have about 26,000 students in programs spanning associate degrees in dental hygiene and doctoral programs in law and psychology. Fourteen campuses, mostly Art Institute locations, have a new owner after a hastily arranged transfer involving private equity executives. More than 40 others are under the control of a court-appointed receiver who has accused school officials of trying to keep the doors open by taking millions of dollars earmarked for students…

Now its students — many with credits that cannot be easily transferred — are stuck in a meltdown. On Wednesday, members of the faculty at Argosy’s Chicago and Northern Virginia campuses told students that they had been fired and instructed to remove their belongings. In Phoenix, an unpaid landlord locked students out of their classrooms. In California, a dean advised students two months away from graduation not to invite family to attend from out of town.

“In less than a month, everything I have worked for the past three years has been taken from me,” said Jayne Kenney, who is pursuing her doctorate in clinical psychology at Argosy’s Chicago campus. “I am also conscious of the fact that what seems like the swift fall of an ax in less than one month has in reality been festering for years.”

But if you have followed the issue of for-profit colleges at all you know this is very much a political story:

The problems, arising amid the Trump administration’s broad efforts to deregulate the for-profit college industry, began almost immediately after Dream Center acquired the schools in 2017…

Led by Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Education Department has reversed an Obama-era crackdown on troubled vocational and career schools, allowing new and inexperienced entrants into the field [emphasis mine]

“The industry was on its heels, but they’ve been given new life by the department under DeVos,” said Eileen Connor, the director of litigation at Harvard Law School’s Project on Predatory Student Lending.

Ms. DeVos, who invested in companies with ties to for-profit collegesbefore taking office, has made it an agency priority to unfetter for-profit schools by eliminating restrictions on them. She also allowed a growing number of for-profit schools to evade even those loosened rules by converting to nonprofits.

This is the reality of deregulation.  Those regulations are there for a reason, i.e., to prevent students from having the disastrous experience of those in this story.  Open things up and ease those “burdensome regulations” and students get scammed.  That’s Trump’s “deregulated” America.

 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to This is what deregulation looks like

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    Looks like when the President is a scam artists, his administration is not far behind.
    In a citizen friendly administration these junk schools would never be approved to get government money paid for by scammed students and, in some cases, their parents.

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