Over the last year or so, the hammer has started coming down on for-profit schools. Steve explained: "Obama had been threatening for years to do something about for-profit colleges, but no one believed he would go through with it. In early 2015, it was apparent he was trying to do something, and we got emails everyday. Most were telling us not to worry, but we also had emails that said 'We're as strong as ever!' I worked there for three years, and the only emails they had sent me was pay stub receipts, password expiration reminders, and the odd departmental email ... these emails really showed how worried they were."
Devonyu/iStock/Getty ImagesThey were a step away from emails asking their employees, "Are you a cop? If we ask, you have to tell us if you are."
This finally prompted Steve to make a career change of his own. He found another job and gave his resignation to his department head, who "begged me to stay. He didn't try to flatter me or say how much they needed me or anything you would expect to hear. It was, 'I know you're worried about this Obama law (I wasn't), and we're worried too, but it will all be OK.' Everyone was acting like the apocalypse was coming."
And what terrifying new law change had everybody soiling their chinos? To quote CNN:
"The new set of rules, called the gainful employment regulations, require colleges to track their graduates' debt and employment to prove that their programs don't fall short of federal guidelines. Institutions now have to provide information on program costs, how much students earn after they graduate and how much debt they could accumulate."
Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images"We're moving forward on a new controversial anti-lying law."
The new law also set limits on how much the schools could charge for loan payments (no more than 20 percent of a student's income). Despite how reasonable those restrictions sound, it was essentially the apocalypse for educational conmen. Roughly 1,400 programs serving 840,000 students were estimated to fall below those minimal standards. The University of Phoenix lost half its students. DeVry is currently being sued by the FTC for false advertising.
Steve was not bummed out at all by this. He still feels some guilt for being involved in the whole thing to start with: "One student I had told me that he knew he was being had. I started to say he wasn't, but he told me to shut up. He told me he went $25,000 into debt for a degree no one took seriously. He had a family, and I got the sense he was doing this for them ... He told me to go fuck myself and proceeded to tell a few other professors too. We never saw him again after that. I'm hoping, really hoping, that the new laws will make degrees for people like him from for-profits actually worth it."
Kondor83/iStock/Getty Images"Congrats on getting hired! Here's your desk."
We hope so too, for the students' sake, but we can't imagine a future in which a prospective employer looks at your resume and says, "Whoa, University of Phoenix, huh? Don't you think you might be overqualified?" Well, not with a straight face, anyway.
If you were misled by a for-profit college, please protect other students by letting the authorities know. If you decided to attend a school because of a misleading ad or deceptive recruiting, contact the Federal Trade Commission.
If you took out a private loan (not including federal student loans) to finance your education, you can also complain to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
If you are a veteran or service member who was deceived by a college, and you used the GI Bill or other VA programs to fund your education, please report it to the Department of Veterans Affairs' new complaint system. The folks at Veterans Education Success would also like to hear from you, and can connect you with pro-bono attorneys, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and generally advocate on your behalf to the VA.
Evan V. Symon is an interviewer, writer, and interview-finder guy for the personal experience team at Cracked. Have an awesome experience/job you would like to share? Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org today!
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