Dems to feds: Stop sending funding to fraudulent schools

Senate Democrats are calling on the Department of Education to take immediate action to stop tens of millions of dollars in federal funds from going to potentially fraudulent for-profit colleges and universities.

Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGun proposal picks up GOP support Durbin: I had 'nothing to do' with Curbelo snub Republicans jockey for position on immigration MORE (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Finance: Lawmakers grill Equifax chief over hack | Wells Fargo CEO defends bank's progress | Trump jokes Puerto Rico threw budget 'out of whack' | Mortgage tax fight tests industry clout Michelle Obama is exactly who the Democrats need to win big in 2020 Wells Fargo chief defends bank's progress in tense Senate hearing MORE (D-Mass.), and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownDems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada Mandel leads GOP primary for Ohio Senate seat: internal poll Red-state Dems need more from Trump before tax embrace MORE (D-Ohio) sent a letter to Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell on Tuesday in response to a New York Times article last week. The report said massive sums of money every month are going to for-profit schools that have been accused of predatory behavior, substandard practices or illegal activity.

“As demonstrated by the catastrophic closure of Corinthian Colleges, Inc. earlier this year, the current program integrity structure does not provide sufficient protection to prevent federal dollars from being squandered at illegitimate institutions” the senators wrote. 

“Allowing fraudulent for-profit schools to continue collecting federal funding until they collapse is unacceptable.”

A working group of 37 state attorneys general is investigating various for-profit institutions and collecting evidence of erroneous job placement rates, misrepresentations about credit transfers and other fraudulent behavior.

The senators said the Department of Education should be requesting specific evidence from the federal and state authorities that are investigating the institutions. 

Federal regulations allow the department to restrict or revoke an institution’s participation in Title IV federal student aid programs based on fraudulent behavior. As the senators pointed out, such behavior does not have to have been discovered by the Department of Education.