Senate Panel Curbs Funding to For-Profits

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $549.3 billion budget bill funding the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) for the 2015 fiscal year, Inside Higher Ed reported. The legislation would increase DoD basic research funding by 5 percent, to $2.27 billion. The Obama administration had previously sought a nearly 7 percent reduction in Pentagon-sponsored research.

Chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Dick Durbin (D-IL) included language in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, FY2015 that would place a new restriction on some of the federal military benefits that are used at for-profit colleges.  The provision would change the so-called "90/10 rule" that caps for-profit colleges' receipt of grants and loans administered by the U.S. Education Department at 90 percent of their annual revenue. The bill would include money from the Pentagon's Tuition Assistance program as part of that cap. Such benefits, as well as veterans' educational aid, are not included in that calculation, which for-profit critics say makes them vulnerable to aggressive and predatory recruiting. For-profit industry representatives have rejected such efforts, arguing that they would reduce access to their institutions for servicemembers and veterans.

The legislation also prevents these funds from being used for advertising and marketing purposes while requiring the Department of Defense to better track how funds are being spent by for-profit colleges.

The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.


Related Links

U.S. Senate Dick Durbin's Press Release

Inside Higher Ed