“COVID College Cons” Series Exposes Predatory For-Profit Colleges Targeting Students During COVID-19 Crisis | Press Release

April 15, 2020

BOSTON – A new series of articles called “COVID College Cons” launched today to expose the predatory tactics that for-profit colleges are using right now to scam students in the midst of an economic and public health crisis. For-profit colleges have been known to benefit from economic downturns when more people are unemployed and seeking new career training opportunities. The purpose of this series is to warn the public about the schemes and help protect them from fraud. The series is created by Republic Report and the Project on Predatory Student Lending.


The first article published today on Republic Report: Scam Websites, Promising Advice on COVID-19, Steer Students to Predatory Colleges.


Today’s piece exposes how for-profit colleges are already using lead generating websites as a scam to capture students looking for online resources and education during COVID-19 and direct them to for-profit colleges. Additional pieces will include an in-depth focus on how these schools are using COVID-related marketing and false promises to sell students low-quality, high-priced education programs.


“Predatory for-profit colleges thrive on economic vulnerability and unemployment, which so many people are facing because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Toby Merrill, Director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending. “These schools prey on people looking to improve their career opportunities, using aggressive false advertising, misleading information, and empty promises. We are working with Republic Report to expose these tactics and the industry cashing in on the crisis.”


“For eight years, Republic Report has worked to expose scams and abuses at predatory colleges and to hold bad actors accountable,” said David Halperin, a Washington DC lawyer and the editor of Republic Report. “With these college cons on the rise again in the COVID-19 crisis, I’m grateful for the chance to collaborate with my friends at the Project on Predatory Student Lending to help protect students and taxpayers.”


The series can be found at republicreport.org.


 About Republic Report

Founded in 2012, Republic Report is a news site dedicated to rooting out the corruption that corrodes American values. It investigates the buying and selling of politicians and of institutions entrusted with upholding the public interest. It exposes how big money distorts major policy decisions – harming our economy and our people. Editor David Halperin, a lawyer and policy advocate, was previously: senior vice president at the Center for American Progress, executive director of the American Constitution Society, White House speechwriter and special assistant to President Clinton, and counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee.


About the Project on Predatory Student Lending

Established in 2012, the Project on Predatory Student Lending of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School represents former students of the predatory for-profit college industry. Its mission is to litigate to make it legally and financially impossible for the for-profit college industry to cheat students, and to relieve borrowers from fraudulent student loan debt. The Project has brought a wide variety of cases on behalf of former students of for-profit colleges. It has sued the federal Department of Education for its failures to meet its legal obligation to police this industry and stop the perpetration and collection of fraudulent student loan debt.