The Triad and For-Profits

The Obama administration has been prodding state regulators to tighten up their oversight of for-profit colleges, in part to prevent another fiasco like the collapse of Corinthian Colleges. One focus for the feds is how state agencies track for-profits’ claims about the job placement rates of their graduates.

For example, the U.S. Department of Education wrote regulators in Arizona and several other states last November to gather information on job-placement rate reporting and verification. That caught the attention of many state agencies that monitor for-profits, said agency officials and industry experts.

"We would like to highlight or remind states of the responsibility they have," a department official, who declined to be named, said in an interview. Those responsibilities include to "better protect students on the front end," the official said.

The scrutiny is part of a broader push by the White House on what it says is a need for more consistency and rigor by higher education’s regulatory triad, which includes state agencies, accreditors and the federal government. Of the three, state agencies are viewed as primarily being responsible for consumer protection, with accreditors focusing on quality and the federal government on financial aid and money issues more broadly.

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