Does Your College Belong on Santa’s ‘Naughty’ List?

Here at Higher Ed, Not Debt, we talk a lot about for-profit colleges and how so many of them make a buck off of students that they then leave in needlessly grave financial trouble. Every year, dozens of for-profit schools take advantage of students by making false promises about job prospects and misrepresenting tuition and fees, while often leaving attendees without a usable degree. 48% of students who default on their loans attended for-profit schools, but these schools continue to lobby against regulations and to take in taxpayer dollars. 

It can be tough to get the facts straight, so this holiday season we put together a list of Grinch-y stats to share. Here are some of the biggest offenders:

  1. For-profit colleges spent more than $617 million on advertising in 2013. Many of these companies get nearly 90% of their revenues from taxpayer dollars.

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  1. Every year we send $32 billion in tax revenue to for-profit colleges. In comparison, food stamps for 46 million Americans cost us $74 billion in 2012.

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  1. Since 2007, the for-profit college industry has spent nearly $40 million lobbying against sensible regulations that would make higher education more accessible.

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  1. Corinthian (which owns WyoTech, Heald, and Everest) illegally used the official seals of the U.S. Navy, Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard in its advertising  to take advantage of discharged service men and women.

  1. For-profit colleges take in 37% of all GI Bill funds, and nearly 50% of all Department of Defense tuition assistance funds.


  1. 24% of DeVry students default on their student loans. That’s higher than DeVry’s graduation rate.

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  1. In one year, University of Phoenix graduated fewer than 16% of their students and received $3.7 billion from taxpayers.

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  1. The University of Phoenix spends nearly $200,000 every day advertising on Google. That’s more than,, or Expedia.

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  1. In 2009, University of Phoenix spent $2,225 per student on marketing and made a profit of $2,535 per student, but only spent $892 per student on instruction.

  1. On average, the annual tuition for public two-year colleges is $2,963. Earning an associate’s degree at ITT Tech can cost more than $44,000.

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  1. ITT Tech is under investigation by 13 state Attorneys General, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Dept. of Ed, and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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  1. Educational Credit Management Corporation, who’s buying many Corinthian Colleges, is the main private entity hired by the Dept. of Ed to fight borrowers who file for bankruptcy.


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