The Department of Education is being accused of illegally giving 10.7 million aid to unaccredited for-profit colleges. The institutions in question are also being investigated for lying to students to boost their enrollment numbers.
The United States Education Department has come under fire for providing $10.7 million in federal loans and grants to students in unaccredited for-profit colleges. The students were ineligible to receive the funds according to the report which first noted the anomaly.
The report was released by the House Labour and Education committee who have threatened to subpoena Education Secretary Betsy Devos. The Chairman of the Committee will subpoena more documents to establish her agency’s role in the Dream Center’s actions.
Controversy surrounding the unaccredited for-profit colleges
Illinois Institute of Art and the Art Institute of Colorado received the funds from the Education Department. The institute was ineligible for the funds received and was unaccredited having been downgraded. The document also showed that it had lied to students when advertising its services.
The document also showed efforts by the department to protect Dream Center Education Holdings, the owner of the Art Institutes and Argosy University from any punishments. They were also liable for lying to students about their accreditations. The schools have now been closed pending further investigations into their unlawful dealings.
In a statement put out by Angela Morabito, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, the department has defended itself saying in part,
It seems to us that the chairman is cherry-picking facts and lacking important context,…The department maintains that it acted in the best interest of students and has continued to act in the best interest of students.
The Higher Learning Commission had raised concerns about the dealings noting that, it is required by law that for-profit institutions need to be fully accredited in order to participate in federal loans. The commission had also downgraded the institutions in question last year for up to 4 years.