MADISON, Wis. — Another for-profit college chain finding itself under scrutiny for questionable business practices raises questions about U.S. Ron Johnson’s admiration for the industry, according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. According to media reports, a Minnesota judge has ruled that the for-profit Globe University has violated state consumer protection and fraud laws.
“The for-profit college industry is drawing more and more scrutiny for their shady business practices, from the regulators, the courts and the public,” said Ross. “It seems that Sen. Johnson is one of the few who continues to turn a blind eye to how these for-profit, corporate creations prey on hard working students trying to do the right thing and get an education and job skills.”
In 2014, Sen. Johnson chose to deliver a self-described “state of the nation” speech at Globe University’s Green Bay location. Earlier this year the same campus was closed as legal action against the corporate-run Globe University was being pursued by the Minnesota Attorney General. Globe was also featured in a 2012 report issued by Johnson’s U.S. Senate colleague, Tom Harkin, detailing the predatory business practices of the for-profit college industry.
It has been reported that 96 percent of Globe students take out student loans and graduate with an average of nearly $45,000 in debt. Globe also partners with another company to provide loans to students with interest rates massively higher than market rates, usually in the 18 percent range. In addition, current and former students at Globe University brought a class action lawsuit over allegations of misleading and deceptive practices by the institution.
Previously, when asked about the $1.3 trillion student loan debt crisis impacting over 40 million Americans, including nearly one million Wisconsinites with over $19 billion in federal student loan debt alone, it was reported that, “Johnson said he’d like to see more for-profit colleges enter the market. He said more competition in the market place would help.”
In addition to Globe’s troubles, the for-profit college ITT Tech recently abruptly closed its doors in Wisconsin, leaving hundreds of state students in limbo. The chain of schools had been under scrutiny by both federal and state government officials from some time, including a prohibition on enrolling new Wisconsin students issued by the Wisconsin Educational Approval Board, investigations of their business practices and sanctions including a ban on federal aid.
Ross concluded, “To put it mildly, Sen. Johnson has some explaining to do about his embrace of the predatory for-profit college industry. Not only has he voted to deny borrowers the ability to refinance their student loans, just like you can with a mortgage, he wants to see more of the unscrupulous profiteers that are literally scamming students and driving them deeper into debt.”