Absentee U.S. Senator and for-profit college beneficiary Marco Rubio this morning went on Fox & Friends to talk about college affordability. Here’s what he had to say:
The problem we have today isn’t just that college is too expensive, it’s that college, our system, is outdated. We need a flexible system that allows people who have to work full time, like single mothers who are raising children and are working also need flexible ways to go back to school.
Perhaps in his eagerness to criticize, Marco neglected to mention his long-time advocacy for and support of for-profit colleges. And Marco neglected to mention that his own proposed college affordability overhaul would specifically benefit for-profit colleges — institutions with a reputation for willfully misleading students, targeting veterans, in particular.
Perhaps he forgot to mention his advocacy on behalf of Corinthian Colleges — a school that, according to Bloomberg Politics, “was fined $30 million by the Department of Education for a scheme involving ‘confirmed cases of misrepresentation of job placement rates’ for as many as 947 students.”
Perhaps he forgot to mention that — according to Business Insider — his support of for-profit Corinthian Colleges has been a convenient boon for his campaign coffers:
Corinthian Colleges, previously one of the largest for-profit colleges before it filed for bankruptcy this spring, gave $5,000 to Rubio’s Reclaim America PAC in 2014, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Perhaps there is a specific reason that Marco Rubio — backed by for-profit colleges — would advocate higher-education reforms that benefit for-profit colleges.
Rubio Support For For-Profit Colleges
Rubio Was A Long-Time Supporter Of “Alternative” Forms Of Higher Education. According to Bloomberg, “But that’s not the full story. Rubio is a noted supporter of ‘alternative’ forms of higher education, describing them in various speeches and statements as a way to help middle class Americans deal with rising tuition costs in an era where college degrees are increasingly vital to success. In 2014, he introduced legislation to encourage federal agencies to hire people with ‘alternative educational experience.” [Bloomberg, 4/29/15]
Business Insider HEADLINE: “Marco Rubio’s Radical Education Plan Could Benefit One Embattled Type Of College.” [Business Insider, 7/8/15]
Business Insider: Rubio’s Support Of “Low-Cost, Innovative Providers” Of Education Resembled A “Euphemism For For-Profit Colleges.” According to Business Insider, “Rubio’s push to welcome ‘low-cost, innovative providers’ — which could be a euphemism for for-profit colleges — may raise eyebrows of those familiar with his prior ties to for-profit colleges.” [Business Insider, 7/8/15]
Rubio’s History Of Helping Corinthian College
June 20, 2014: Rubio Wrote A Letter To U.S. Department Of Education Deputy Secretary Expressing Concern Over The “Extreme Financial Constraints” Placed On Corinthian Colleges, Which Restricted The Company’s Access To Federal Financial Aid. According to Bloomberg, “The top-tier Republican presidential candidate had made his plea in a letter—obtained by Bloomberg Politics—dated June 20, 2014 and addressed to Jim Shelton, the deputy secretary of education, and Ted Mitchell, the undersecretary for post-secondary education. ‘It has been brought to my attention that the U.S. Department of Education has recently placed extreme financial constraints on Corinthian Colleges, Inc. by restricting the company’s timely access to federal financial aid. It is my understanding the the [sic] Department of Education has requested extensive documents be provided by Corinthian Colleges for review, and Corinthian has acted in good faith to try to provide these documents as expeditiously as possible,’ Rubio wrote.” [Bloomberg, 4/29/15]
- 2014: Rubio Wanted The U.S. Department Of Education To “Demonstrate Leniency” Toward Corinthian Colleges By Allowing The Company Continued Access To Millions In Federal Financial Aid While Undergoing A Federal Investigation. According to Bloomberg, “Last summer, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida asked the U.S. Department of Education to ‘demonstrate leniency’ toward Corinthian Colleges by permitting the wealthy for-profit company to continue accessing millions of dollars in federal financial aid while it was cooperating with a federal investigation.” [Bloomberg, 4/29/15]
Rubio Was Informed That The Federal Investigation Found “Systemic Deficiencies” In How The Company Operated. According to Bloomberg, “Mitchell responded to Rubio on April 2, explaining that the federal investigation found ‘systemic deficiencies’ in the company’s operations and mentioned that the organization had ‘admitted to falsifying placement rates and/or grade and attendance records at various institutions.” [Bloomberg, 4/29/15]
Rubio Was Informed That The Company “Admitted To Falsifying Placement Rates And/Or Grade And Attendance Records At Various Institutions.” According to Bloomberg, “Mitchell responded to Rubio on April 2, explaining that the federal investigation found ‘systemic deficiencies’ in the company’s operations and mentioned that the organization had ‘admitted to falsifying placement rates and/or grade and attendance records at various institutions.” [Bloomberg, 4/29/15]
- Corinthian Colleges Reported $1.2 Billion In Federal Student Loans During Its Final Year. According to Bloomberg, “In its final year, Corinthian Colleges reportedly said it received $1.2 billion in federal student loans.” [Bloomberg, 4/29/15]
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Dedicated $480 Million In Debt Relief For Students “Harmed By Corinthian’s Predatory Lending Scheme.” According to Bloomberg, “In February, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced $480 million in debt relief for students it deemed were ‘harmed by Corinthian’s predatory lending scheme.” [Bloomberg, 4/29/15]
Rubio’s Financial Support From Corinthian College
2015: Rubio Accepted Contribution From Corinthian Executive Mark Pelesh After Shuttering Campuses. According to Bloomberg, “The most recent donation appeared in the Republican presidential candidate’s filing with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday: a $2,700 maximum from Mark Pelesh, who was listed as a ‘business executive’ forCorinthian Colleges. The donation came on April 30, one day after Bloomberg reported that Rubio had written a June 20, 2014 letter to the Department of Education asking it to ‘demonstrate leniency’ in maintaining Corinthian’s access to federal student loans as it was under investigation. In April 2015, the Department fined the chain $30 million for misrepresenting grades, attendance and job placement data of its students, which led to the chain shutting down its campuses and displacing about 16,000 students across the country.” [Bloomberg, 7/16/15]
2010 – 2015: Rubio Accepted $27,600 In Donations From Corinthian Colleges. According to Bloomberg, “In the last five years, Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s various political operations have accepted $27,600 in contributions from Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit education chain that shut down in April after a federal investigation found it had engaged in ‘predatory’ practices.” [Bloomberg, 7/16/15]
For-Profit Colleges’ History Of Targeting Veterans
For-Profit Colleges Receive Largest Share Of Military Educational Benefit Programs. According to a report by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, “For-profit colleges also receive the largest share of military educational benefit programs: 37 percent of post-9/11 GI bill benefits and 50 percent of Department of Defense Tuition Assistance benefits flowed to for-profit colleges in the most recent period. Because of the cost of the programs however, they trained far fewer students than public colleges. Eight of the top 10 recipients of Department of Veterans Affairs post-9/11 GI bill funds are for-profit education companies.” [United States Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, “For Profit Higher Education: The Failing to Safeguard the Federal Investment and Ensure Student Success, 7/30/2012]
For-Profit Colleges Targeted Students Who Were “Often Not Familiar With Traditional Higher Education And May Be Facing Difficult Circumstances In Their Lives.” According to a report by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, “For-profit colleges seek to enroll a population of non-traditional prospective students who are often not familiar with traditional higher education and may be facing difficult circumstances in their lives. Recruiting materials indicate that at some for-profit colleges, admission representatives were trained to locate and push on the pain in students’ lives. They were also trained to ‘overcome objections’ of prospective students in order to secure enrollments. Additionally, companies trained recruiters to create a false sense of urgency to enroll and inflate the prestige of the college.” [United States Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, “For Profit Higher Education: The Failing to Safeguard the Federal Investment and Ensure Student Success, 7/30/2012]
For-Profit Colleges Aggressively Targeted Veterans And Servicemembers, Sometimes With Misleading Or False Information. According to a report by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, “Servicemembers, veterans, spouses, and family members have become highly attractive prospects to for-profit colleges, and many schools have put significant resources into recruiting and enrolling students eligible for these benefits. Lead generation Web sites, specifically designed to attract members of the military and veterans, use layouts and logos similar to official military websites, but do not inform users that the purpose of the site is to collect contact information on behalf of the site’s for-profit college clients. Internal documents show that some schools’ pursuit of military benefits led them to recruit from the most vulnerable military populations, sometimes recruiting at wounded warrior centers and veterans hospitals. In addition to aggressively seeking military personnel, the investigation showed that some recruiters misled or lied to service members as to whether their tuition would be fully covered by military benefits. [United States Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, “For Profit Higher Education: The Failing to Safeguard the Federal Investment and Ensure Student Success, 7/30/2012]
Published: Aug 10, 2015