Last week, at a critical point in the Paris negotiations on global climate change, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the United States would commit $800 million annually to help developing nations adapt to a warming climate and move to cleaner energy. $800 million doubled the prior US pledge, and the announcement may have helped seal the deal.
$800 million is a great deal of money. But it is actually less than US taxpayers provided in the past year to each of five major for-profit college companies — all of which have been under investigation in recent years by federal and state law enforcement agencies for deceiving their students, lying to government regulators, and other abuses.
According to data from the US Department of Education, the following companies received these amounts in federal student grants and loans in the 2014-15 year:
- Apollo / University of Phoenix: $1.99 billion
- Education Management Corp.: $1.47 billion
- DeVry: $1.47 billion
- Kaplan: $877 million
- Career Education Corp.: $803 million
These figures do not even include additional tens of millions per company in federal education aid for military service members and veterans from the Defense Department and the Veterans Administration. And all of these for-profit college companies were in fact receiving much more in federal aid until a few years ago, when the truth about their abusive practices finally filtered down to prospective students, and enrollments plummeted.