Whenever educational issues are debated, legislators operate from an unchallenged assumption: more government aid will lead to better opportunities for students. But the plight of a well-known Santa Ana, California-based private college system shows the reverse may often be true. Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit company that owns Heald College and other career-oriented colleges, has announced that it is selling or closing its schools as a result of the U.S. Department of Education's slashing of student aid to the colleges' 72,000 students. The college has been accused of targeting low-income, vulnerable Californians through deceptive and false advertisements and aggressive marketing campaigns that misrepresented job placement rates. Steven Greenhut explains that a big part of the problem is availability of government aid in the first place. Both for-profit schools and public ones lock students into years of debt, and often offer degrees of questionable market value, thanks to such loans.
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