Testimony of Katie Buitrago before the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Field Hearing on Student Loans. In this testimony Buitrago discussed the impact for-profit colleges have on students’ economic opportunities, with these students graduating with more debt and fewer job opportunities.
Reining in the multibillion-dollar industry has been the administration’s goal for most of President Barack Obama’s term in office, fueled by complaints that for-profit colleges lure students with misleading promises, then saddle them with debts they can’t pay back despite their newly granted degrees. Its latest tool is the Education Department’s long-debated “gainful employment” rule, which requires colleges to track their graduates’ performance in the workforce and eventually will cut off funding for career training programs that fall short.
The event also featured a panel on student debt and its impact on for-profit college students, featuring Katie Buitrago of Woodstock Institute, Rohit Chopra of CFPB, Samuel Levine of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Eve Rips of Young Invincibles, and Hannah Moore, a graduate of the for-profit Harrington College of Design. Ms. Moore shared her experiences with accumulating and paying down high levels of student debt.
Amy Rynell, Senior Director of Research & Policy at Heartland Alliance, accepted Woodstock Institute’s Community Investment Award, stating:
"Without access to easy, convenient tools to build retirement savings more people will experience a reduced quality of life in retirement, putting many at risk of poverty – straining families, communities and the state. Secure Choice will provide many of these workers with the opportunity to save and have a more stable future."
“It’s well known that for-profit college students borrow—and default—more than students at public and nonprofit schools,” said Katie Buitrago, senior policy and communications associate at Woodstock Institute. “This research shows that even when for-profit students have socioeconomic backgrounds similar to students at other schools and attend schools with similar costs, many students are still more likely to borrow at for-profits than at other schools. Something is happening at for-profit schools that is driving students into debt.”