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 DurbinDurbin calls Mueller report findings on Trump team 'troubling' Congress opens door to fraught immigration talks McConnell: 'Past time' for immigration-border security deal MORE (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJulián Castro: Trump should be impeached for trying to obstruct justice 'in very concrete ways' Poll: Biden tops Sanders nationally Pete Buttigieg: 'God doesn't have a political party' MORE (D-Mass.), and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Budowsky: 2020 Dems should debate on Fox Overnight Health Care: How 2020 Dems want to overhaul health care | Brooklyn parents sue over measles vaccination mandate | Measles outbreak nears record 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.