SASC Responds To Senator Harkin

Dec 09, 2010, 16:07 ET from Student Access Student Choice Coalition

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Student Access Student Choice Coalition (SASC) today responded to charges by Chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and Iowa Senator Tom Harkin:

"Senator Tom Harkin's criticisms of career schools and universities do not take into account the educational opportunities they provide to American citizens, including veterans who frequently attend these institutions due to their convenience.  Months ago, the GAO issued a report critical of career schools and this report formed the basis for many of Mr. Harkin's concerns," said Phil Singer, spokesperson for the Student Access Student Choice (SASC) coalition.  "But recently, the GAO was forced to revise that report after many of its assertions were called into question.  We look forward to working with Senator Harkin and other lawmakers over the coming months to ensure that they are aware of the opportunities that career schools create for Americans around the nation.  The time has come for an honest debate concerning the critical role career colleges and universities play in educating Americans."

BACKGROUND: 

Senator Harkin Leverages Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report On Career Colleges & Universities: "Following the second oversight hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that he will initiate a document request to 30 companies operating for-profit schools.  The announcement came at the end of the Committee's hearing today titled 'For-Profit Schools: The Student Recruitment Experience.'  This is the second in a series of hearings conducted by the Committee to examine the federal investment in for-profit colleges.  The hearing included testimony by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) of the undercover investigation they conducted of recruiting practices at 15 for-profit schools in cities across the country.  'All 15 schools GAO investigated found instances of fraud, deceptive practices or misleading statements to prospective students,' said Harkin.  'This is unacceptable, particularly when the students these schools serve need the greatest help.  I continue to be amazed by the questionable, and sometimes outright illegal, practices occurring within the for-profit sector.  Critics say that it is only a few bad apples, but we need to take a hard look at the entire orchard.'" (Press Release, "Following GAO Investigation On For-Profit College Recruiting, Chairman Harkin To Issue Document Request For 30 For-Profit Schools," Senator Tom Harkin, 8/4/10)

GAO Report Used By Senator Harkin Revised Significantly "Chang[ing] Some Key Passages": "The Government Accountability Office has revised portions of a report it released last summer on recruiting practices in for-profit higher education … The revisions have come as the Obama administration and senior Democratic lawmakers are pushing for tougher regulation of the industry. A Republican senator said the revisions called into question some of the conclusions in the report … The revised report, posted Nov. 30 on the GAO Web site, changed some key passages … Sen. Mike Enzi (Wyo.), the committee's ranking Republican, wrote in a letter Tuesday to the acting comptroller, Gene L. Dodaro, who heads the GAO, that the revisions raise 'a number of troubling questions.'  Enzi wrote that the revisions appear 'substantial' and 'undermine many of the allegations' in the GAO report." (Nick Anderson, "GAO Revises Its Report Critical Of Practices At For-Profit Schools," The Washington Post, 12/7/10)

SOURCE Student Access Student Choice Coalition



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