500+ colleges placed under increased federal financial oversight

On Tuesday the U.S. Department of Education released a list of 556 colleges and universities that are on a federal financial “watch list” of sorts. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Department of Education will have “increased financial oversight” into what these institutions of higher education do with the money they receive from federal student aid. students, parents and through loan/grant programs.

On the list are a mixture of for-profit, public and Bible schools that were flagged because of accreditation, liabilities and late financial statements. Nearly half of the institutions listed are for-profit schools and include the Art Institutes, Everest University and Le Cordon Bleu. Many of the schools were already placed on this oversight list, but those names had not been publicly released until this week.

The release comes after Inside Higher Ed filed a freedom of information act to gain access to the federal information.

I’ve long been vocal about the need to have stronger transparency when it comes to the finances of colleges and universities, at least our public ones. We put so much accountability on the shoulders of our P-12 schools and then when it comes to college, it has traditionally been an “anything goes” approach that has unfortunately led to some predatory practices. If we really want our college students to succeed academically, and in the economy after that, we need to hold colleges and universities to high standards of accountability too. That starts with finance and extends to other areas, like job placement and graduation rate.

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