The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee, headed by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Ia.), is out with a long promised report on the for-profit college industry (full report here, PDF summary here), and almost every finding is a doozy. Let's break it down, point by point.
Most students don't graduate
This is the headline conclusion, and it's important, especially when comparing for-profits to peer institutions. The report finds that 62.9 percent of students who enrolled in an associate's degree program at a for-profit college in the 2008-09 school year left before finishing their degree, and that the median student lasted only four months. A smaller majority — 54.3 percent – left bachelor's programs before graduating, and 38.5 percent left certificate programs. Taken together, all programs had an average dropout rate of 38.5 percent.
They're really expensive
Especially in comparison to public institutions, such as community colleges that represent many for-profits' main competition, the schools charge a pretty penny:
Perhaps the most startling conclusion of the report was that the vast majority of for-profit college revenue comes from the federal government in the form of subsidized loans, Pell Grants, veteran and military benefits and other aid: