Yet another story about another Administration attack on business. This time it’s for-profit colleges that are under fire.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Administration is preparing to join a lawsuit against a for-profit college, revolving around what plaintiffs claim are inappropriate compensation protocols being used for recruiters at these colleges.
Yet this lawsuit is just the latest for an industry that the Administration has long had in its targets. Some on the left seem to recoil from the very idea of profit being a motive in education. This is misguided, to put it charitably. Profit has motivated some of our most important education breakthroughs and created numerous companies that have helped millions get an education. What’s the problem with that?
Also, it seems a bizarre distinction that we are suppose to object to some entrepreneur trying to make a buck by teaching clients needed skills, but celebrate supposed “non-profits”like Harvard that demand $40k a year from students and shower those dedicated non-profit professors with generous salaries, lifetime employment protection, and a near royal lifestyle. How is one really more greedy than the other?
The government’s interest in all this stems from the subsidies they provide students to pay for tuition. They need to make sure that money is being put to good use. That’s a fair enough point, but I don’t know that one could really make the case that the money being spent at your average four-year college for a sociology or gender studies degree is really a better value from the taxpayer perspective than the average tech or career-focused training program at a for-profit enterprise.
And government shouldn’t be in the position of making such judgments. Only individuals know how they plan to put their education to use, which is why there is no reason for government to get involved in this arena.
Absent government, student loan companies would have to assess the merits of an educational institution (regardless of its profit or non-profit status) to figure out the likelihood that the student will ultimately pay them back. Those who worry that lower-income students would be left out of this equation ignore that institutions that cater to them (such as community college and for-profit learning centers) would have an interest in facilitating the loans and providing aid, if they want to remain in business. So long as the risks associated with default are borne solely by lender and borrower, then there is no reason for government to be involved.
The attack on for-profit colleges is yet another misguided government attempt to control what choices people have. It should be none of their business how any education institution compensates recruiters or how valuable the education provided is, so long as no one is committing fraud.
This latest assault is another perfect example of why our economy-and our education system for that matter-is such a mess.