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 DurbinDick DurbinPassing the DACA legislation will provide relief to children living in fear Dems don’t want to help GOP improve repeal bill Mnuchin: Trump administration examining online sales tax issue MORE (D-Ill.), Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalDem bill would ban controversial pesticide Trump attack puts Sessions in bind Dem leaders amp up calls for bipartisan ObamaCare fixes MORE (D-Conn.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate heading for late night ahead of ObamaCare repeal showdown Dem senators 'seek assurances' Icahn not swaying regulators on AIG: report Maryland Dem considering bid to take on Trump MORE (D-Mass.), and Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownOvernight Finance: House passes spending bill with border wall funds | Ryan drops border tax idea | Russia sanctions bill goes to Trump's desk | Dems grill bank regulator picks Dems grill Trump bank regulator nominees Senate Dems launch talkathon ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote 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.