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Sen. Durbin's continuing effort to warn about for-profit colleges

Dear IFT member,

I want to share an important letter Senator Dick Durbin sent to Illinois educators, counselors, and principals as part of his continuing campaign to alert students and their families to the dangers of for-profit colleges.

For the ninth consecutive year, Senator Durbin is sounding the alarm about the risks of enrolling in for-profit higher education institutions. As you probably know, these predatory schools sink students into a lifetime of debt with flashy advertising and false promises of affordability and high-paying futures.

From Durbin's letter: “For-profit colleges pounce on economic uncertainty to exploit students who are trying to better their future through education. We’ve seen it before—most recently during the Great Recession. They spent massively on marketing, bombarding students with misleading advertisements. Owners and investors lined their pockets while students paid exorbitantly high tuition in exchange for often worthless degrees."

Several companies that operate for-profit institutions in Illinois are currently under investigation, facing lawsuits, or have recently paid millions in settlement fees because of their deceptive practices, including:

  • Ashford University (owned by Bridgepoint Education, Inc.)

  • American Intercontinental University and Colorado Technical University (owned by Career Education Corporation (CEC)

  • DeVry University (formerly owned by Adtalem Global Education)

  • Kaplan University (now Purdue Global University)

  • University of Phoenix

  • Lincoln Educational Services (operating in Illinois as Lincoln College of Technology)

Several other for-profit institutions have been placed on Heightened Cash Monitoring (HCM) status by the U.S. Department of Education. Institutions are placed on HCM when the Department has identified concerns about to the school’s financial instability or compliance issues with federal regulations. Anyone considering these colleges should be extremely cautious.

As Durbin notes, “For an Illinois student, getting the right information from the right person can mean the difference between a successful future and a lifetime of student debt.”

Once again, I thank Senator Durbin for leading this important fight to protect our students and their families.

As always, thanks for all you do.

In solidarity,

Dan Montgomery, IFT President

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