For-Profit Schools' Powerful Lobby

    Orquidea Mejia, a student who transferred from Devry Inc. to LaGuardia Community College, sits in an empty classroom at LaGuardia in the Queens borough of New York, U.S., on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010. Mejia, 20, could have avoided $14,000 in loan debt from DeVry, a for-profit college, and paid her class and book bills with a federal Pell grant if she had directly attended LaGuardia. For-profit colleges are gaining students over community colleges as they compete to educate low-income students, even though private schools charge as much as ten times for the same degree and their students are eight times more likely to be in debt. Photographer: Chris Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images *** Local Caption *** Orquidea Mejia

    Chris Goodney, Bloomberg / Getty Images

    When the Obama administration promised to rein in  what some say are predatory practices of for-profit colleges, which had been accused of luring students into taking on unsustainable debt, the colleges fought back. The $30-billion industry—which gets most of its money through federal student aid—waged a $16-million blitz using prominent Democratic lobbyists with ties to the administration, including Anita Dunn and Richard Gephardt. The White House says the campaign had no effect, but education officials say it watered down the new rules.

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