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Congressman misses for-profit college event

The for-profit college industry collected $32 billion in taxpayer dollars in 2010, thanks to the student aid dollars attached to its students. A lucrative new source for dollars came on line with adoption of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. In its first year, for-profit universities took in $640 million from G.I. benefits.

That's made veterans an attractive target for the for-profit recruiters, with special events designed to target potential students who come not only with federal aid resources, but also serve as a loophole for the 90-10 rule. The rule stipulates that at least 10 percent of the colleges' revenue come from nonfederal sources, but military aid is exempt. That allows the for-profit schools to enroll nine civilian students for every veteran they recruit.

The Fort Wayne campus of National College, a Virginia-based for-profit college, advertised an event Wednesday featuring Congressman Marlin Stutzman and Mayor Tom Henry. The mayor bowed out when we asked about his participation on Monday; the congressman's staff announced on Tuesday that Stutzman wouldn't attend. David Halperin, blogging at Huffington Post, took note of the congressman's change of heart.

I've written often about the for-profit college industry, including this look at Brown Mackie College last December.

Every article brings a response from a student or parent who seems to have had a bad experience with a for-profit school.

Sen. Tom Harkin's committee report on the industry deserves some serious attention in the current election season.

Karen Francisco, editorial page editor for The Journal Gazette, has been an Indiana journalist since 1981. She writes frequently about education for The Journal Gazette opinion pages and here, where she looks at the business, politics and science of learning as it relates to northeast Indiana, the state and the nation. She can be reached at 260-461-8206 or by e-mail at