For-Profit Colleges and Racial Justice

Secondary Resources

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, INC. American Civil Liberties Union & National Consumer Law Center v. United States Department of Education

A lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act for release of information about the disparate impact of student loan collection practices on communities of color.

United States of America, ex rel. Saphronia Boyd, Ruthie Parker and Stanley Watts v. Corinthian Colleges

Former employees assert that Corinthian College in Merrionette Park, Illinois used discriminatory practices to enroll a student body that was 72 percent African American.

Tiffeny Anderson, Dianna Bond, Veronica Boyd, Crystal Larkin, Sharonda Nixon, Barbara Turner, and Shirley Washington v. Virginia College

A lawsuit asserting that Virginia College engaged in “reverse redlining” in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act by targeting African Americans.

Mary Morgan, et. al., v. Richmond School of Health and Technology, Inc.

Case charging for-profit vocational school with targeting African Americans for recruitment into sham programs, in violation of civil rights and consumer protection statutes.

Reports

May 2016, Revised January 2018

Gainfully Employed? Assessing the Employment and Earnings of For-Profit College Students Using Administrative Data | NBER

Despite the much higher costs of attendance, earnings effects are smaller in the for-profit sector relative to the effects for comparable students in public community colleges.

February 28, 2017

Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges | Tressie McMillan Cottom

Lower Ed, the first book to link the rapid expansion of for-profit degrees to America’s increasing inequality, reveals the story of an industry that exploits the pain, desperation, and aspirations of the most vulnerable and exposes the conditions that allow for-profit education to thrive.

 

February 2017

A Profile of the Enrollment Patterns and Demographic Characteristics of Undergraduates at For-Profit Institutions | NCES

The rapid growth of the for-profit sector has renewed public scrutiny and concern about the historically poor labor market outcomes of students at many of these institutions and the amount of debt students in these institutions often take on.

October 20, 2016

Black-White Disparity in Student Loan Debt More Than Triples After Graduation | Economic Studies at Brookings

Our analysis reveals the surprising, disproportionate role of graduate school enrollment—particularly for-profit graduate enrollment—in contributing to the overall black-white debt gap.

September 15, 2016

"Why Wait Years to Become Something?" Low-Income African American Youth and the Costly Career Search in For-Profit Trade Schools | ASA

Increasing numbers of low-income and minority youth are now pursuing shorter-duration sub-baccalaureate credentials at for-profit trade and technical schools. However, many students drop out of these schools, leaving with large debts and few job prospects.

June 2016

How Wall Street's Predatory Products Pillage Women's Wealth, Opportunities, & Futures | Suparna Bhaskaran

This report demonstrates how gendered and racialized economic vulnerability is increasingly exploited and exacerbated by Wall Street and the financial sector.

February 2016

Mapping Student Debt | Marshall Steinbaum and Kavya Vaghul

Maps tell us that: delinquency disproportionately affects minority communities; even after controlling for income, race still has a strong impact on student loan delinquency; middle-class minorities are hurt the most by student loan delinquency.

2016

Education Deserts The Continued Significance of "Place" in the Twenty-First Century | ACE

The purpose of this brief is to explore the importance of place even further, and to raise important questions about how geography shapes educational equity and opportunity.

2015

The Debt Divide, The Racial and Class Bias Behind the "New Normal" of Student Borrowing | Demos

Our analysis, using data from three U.S. Department of Education surveys, the Federal Reserve’s 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances, and existing academic literature, reveals a system that is deeply biased along class and racial lines.

October 2014

Do Students of Color Profit from For-Profit College? Poor Outcomes and High Debt Hamper Attendees' Futures | Center for Responsible Lending

African Americans and Latinos
are at greater risk of the high debt burdens and poor outcomes caused by for-profit colleges because
they are more likely to attend these schools than their white peers.

November 2010

Subprime Opportunity: The Unfulfilled Promise of For-Profit Colleges and Universities | The Education Trust

For-profit colleges provide high cost degree programs that have little chance of leading to high-paying careers, and saddle the most vulnerable students with heavy debt. Instead of providing a solid pathway to the middle class, they pave a path into the subbasement of the American economy...

Coverage

August 14, 2018

Betsy DeVos’ Elimination of Obama Rules Allows For-Profit Colleges To Swindle Poor Black Students | Atlanta Black Star

Under the Trump administration, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is on a mission to roll back Obama-era measures designed to ease the debt burden on students attending for-profit schools, and make these institutions prove their graduates emerge gainfully employed.

July 30, 2018

For-Profit Schools’ Predatory Practices and Students of Color: A Mission to Enroll Rather than Educate | Harvard Law Review

In a move with significant implications for federal civil rights enforcement, the Department of Education has halted investigations into several large for-profit institutions widely accused of defrauding students.

July 30, 2018

Betsy DeVos Doesn't Give a Damn About Students, Education or the Cost Thereof | The Root

Can we stop telling the lie that Betsy DeVos has the best interest of this nation’s students at heart? The U.S. Department of Education has devolved into yet another classist system of oppression set up to hold down people of color and low-income families. This latest move by DeVos is proof of that.

June 18, 2018

Are Betsy DeVos's policies exacerbating racial inequities in student debt? These lawmakers think so. | Washington Post

Senate and House Democrats are accusing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos of exacerbating racial disparities in student debt by failing to help defrauded borrowers, enforce consumer protections and examine the root causes of debt inequity.

May 6, 2017

The Black-White Wealth Gap is Fueled by Student Debt | MarketWatch

Student debt is becoming a nearly-universal American experience, but the particulars of that experience can vary widely depending on the color of your skin.

March 27, 2017

How For-Profit Colleges Sell 'Risky Education' to the Most Vulnerable | NPR

For-profit colleges have faced federal and state investigations in recent years for their aggressive recruiting tactics.

March 20, 2017

How to Con Black Law Students: A Case Study | New York Times

This month, Bethune-Cookman, a historically black university in Daytona Beach, Fla., announced an “affiliation” deal with Arizona Summit Law School, a for-profit institution in Phoenix.

February 22, 2017

The Coded Language of For-Profit Colleges | The Atlantic

For-profit colleges do not simply participate in revenue-generating activities, as do all institutions of higher education. Instead, for-profit colleges are also defined by their profit-seeking imperative.

October 24, 2016

When For-Profit Colleges Prey on Unsuspecting Students | The Atlantic

Without access to counseling in high school, many ambitious yet disadvantaged students still end up in schools where they’re most likely to drop out and accrue lots of debt.

October 24, 2016

Student Debt May be Contributing to Racial Inequality | Bloomberg

The pursuit of higher education may be exacerbating gaps in financial well-being between blacks and whites, rather than narrowing them.

October 20, 2016

Black-White Disparity in Student Loan Debt More Than Triples After Graduation | Brookings

The moment they earn their bachelor’s degrees, black college graduates owe $7,400 more on average than their white peers ($23,400 versus $16,000, including non-borrowers in the averages).

October 7, 2016

Why Lower-Income Students are Drawn to For-Profit Schools | Chicago Tribune

Students seeking to improve their lot in life often look to college for a leg up, but a lack of information and an urgency to land a job can drive youth from lower-income communities to enroll in for-profit trade schools they often can't afford.

February 17, 2016

How the Student Debt Crisis Affects African Americans and Latinos | Washington Center for Equitable Growth

Our analysis finds that among minority student borrowers, those most adversely affected are the middle class—those who have taken out debt to go to college but who haven’t been able to find jobs or don’t have sufficient family wealth to pay it back.

August 31, 2015

For Profit Colleges, Students of Color And The Debt Crisis No One Really Talks About | Think Progress

A Federal Reserve of St. Louis report pointed out that although for-profit colleges account for nearly 10 percent of college enrollment in the U.S. they represent almost half of all student loan defaults, according to U.S. Department of Education data.

September 23, 2014

Subprime Students: How For-Profit Universities Make a Killing by Exploiting College Dreams | Mother Jones

For-profit graduates fare little better on the job market than job seekers with high school degrees; their diplomas, that is, are a net loss, offering essentially the same grim job prospects as if they had never gone to college, plus a lifetime debt sentence.

May 12, 2011

For-Profit Colleges: Targeting People Who Can't Pay | NPR

For-profit colleges are making billions of dollars in profits by targeting vulnerable populations with misleading promises of low-cost tuition and jobs after graduation, says Bloomberg News investigative reporter Daniel Golden.