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Dick Durbin: For-Profit Colleges "Own Every Lobbyist" in DC

Big money lobbyists, backed with generous campaign contributions, are holding many members of Congress hostage to the for-profit college industry.

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The state AGs charged QuinStreet with violating consumer protection laws. In addition to transferring the website, QuinStreet agreed to pay a $2.5 million fine and to provide better disclosures on its multiple marketing websites that target veterans and active duty military.

APSCU issued a statement saying it “condemn[s] any activity by companies that mislead veterans” — without noting that QuinStreet is an “Allied Member” of APSCU.

QuinStreet was a major marketer of high-interest subprime mortgages, but after that market collapsed, it apparently put its database and knowledge of struggling Americans to use for a sector sometimes called subprime colleges.

Fixing the QuinStreet websites is a start, but there are many more bad marketing, recruiting, reporting, and other practices in this industry, so I hope the AGs keep pushing. I also hope that citizens will get more engaged on this issue, and start asking their members of Congress whether they stand with our troops and vets seeking advancement through education, or whether they stand with wealthy predatory colleges that take advantage of — and crush — people’s hopes and dreams.

David Halperin, a Senior Fellow at United Republic, advises organizations on strategy, policy, politics, communications, and legal matters. He was previously the founding director of Campus Progress, and senior vice president at the Center for American Progress.