Obama succumbs to higher ed lobby

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Regulations of for-profit universities will be weaker because of lobbying.

By Daily Editorial Board

For-profit colleges often lure students, especially minorities, with promises of quick degrees and high paying jobs. However, in reality these students are often left with loads of debt, unprepared to enter the workplace.

Meanwhile, during the 2008 presidential campaign, one of the many promises President Barack Obama made was to reform the lobbying system to clean up the politics and close the revolving door between public service and lobbying.

However, after a slew of former officials — many on Obama’s team — were paid incredible amounts of money by the for-profit university industry to lobby against new regulations the administration had proposed, the restrictions that were eventually passed are much weaker than what was promised.

Obama had promised to cut tens of billions of dollars in federal aid toward colleges whose graduated students weren’t earning enough money to pay back their loans — numbers which the Washington Post reports are “staggering.” In all, 16 percent of the schools were supposed to be affected by the tough regulations. Instead, a mere 5 percent are, and restrictions are not nearly as tough as they should be.

Many of the officials that lobbied against the cuts were not exactly obscure figures. Obama’s former communications director, a major fundraising bundler and the brother of the man who ran Obama’s transition team were all involved in the lobbying process.

For the Obama administration to retreat in the face of the industry is wrong and does a disservice to students and higher education itself. The president should be aiding students by ensuring the highest quality of education is provided, not making the problem worse.

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