College Guide


January 20, 2011 11:00 AM Ad vs. Ad

By Daniel Luzer

You’ve probably seen the advertisements put up recently by the for-profit colleges’ lobbying group aimed against the Department of Education’s coming “gainful employment” rules. The rules would limit the ability of for-profit colleges that leave students with unaffordable debt to take advantage of federal financial aid. Check out examples here, here and here.

On Tuesday Campus Progress, the nonprofit devoted to promoting progressive political and social policy through support for student activists and journalists on college campuses, unveiled its own advertising campaign. Here’s the television commercial:

Campus Progress, which is affiliated with the Center for American Progress, explains that it started its campaign,

…to highlight disturbing practices at some for-profit colleges across the country. For-profit schools currently serve 10 percent of U.S. students but account for 25 percent of federal student aid—and 44 percent of student loan defaults. While there are some quality programs at for-profit schools, too many for-profit programs are marked by skyrocketing tuition, high dropout rates, and insurmountable debt for many students.

Campus Progress has purchased advertisements, which will air on Fox News and MSNBC, expressing the organization’s support for the Department’s regulations.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer


  • Texas Aggie on January 20, 2011 7:47 PM:

    There is a pattern here. "For profit education" is an oxymoron because you can't do both. If you want to educate people, the costs will be high because that is a characteristic of any skilled service. If you want to make boodles of money, you have to cut corners because that is characteristic of any company that puts profits ahead of performance.

    The charter school movement should serve as a glaring example. In practically every case where fraud or allegations of fraud against secondary schools has occurred, it is a for-profit charter school. In comparison to their total numbers, a huge percentage of for-profits have been found to be indulging in financial hanky-panky. There is no reason to suspect that for-profit vocational schools will be any different.

  • Angie Klabacka on January 21, 2011 10:19 AM:

    Grow up. Profit and successful products go hand in hand. Why do you thing there is such a fuss over "profit" and "education". First, because success in the public sector is like oil in water, they just don't mix well. Public sector employees and government cannot stand when a business sector becomes successful. If education and profit did not mix well together then the debate would be mute. Facts show that public sector education cannot keep pace with today's consumer driven economy. Today's consumer knows what they want and the private sector knows how to deliver.