Student loan borrowers spent billions on career training programs that failed to deliver.
Roughly 350,000 students attended and graduated from either two or four year career-education programs in 2012 that were failing or close to failing certain government metrics, according to an analysis of government data released Wednesday by the Institute for College Access and Success, an organization that advocates for equity in higher education.
That means that these programs, which are supposed to prepare students for specific careers, like cosmetology or culinary arts, saddled borrowers with levels of student loan debt that ate up a huge chunk of their pay.
Graduates of these programs were left with about $7.5 billion in debt, according to the analysis. “There are a lot of programs leaving a lot of students with unreasonable debt,” said Debbie Cochrane, the vice president of TICAS. “What’s astonishing is just seeing how many students are affected and how much debt those affected students are left with.”
The findings come just a few weeks after Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education announced a plan to rescind the gainful employment regulation. The set of rules, developed by the Obama-era Department of Education, were aimed at ensuring that career-training programs prepared students for jobs and didn’t saddle them with unsustainable debt.