Legislation to increase accountability of for-profit colleges advances

Posted: February 10, 2019 | Education and Cultural Affairs, Senator Vitelli

AUGUSTA — A bill introduced by Sen. Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, to ensure that for-profit colleges operating in Maine meet basic education standards was endorsed by the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee in a 7-6 vote on Wednesday.

“Students deserve the assurance that whatever institution they’re attending, regardless of its structure, is worth their time and money,” said Sen. Vitelli. “Students who find that for-profit schools are the right fit for them deserve the same transparency and accountability from their school that students at other institutions have access to.”

The bill — LD 103 “An Act To Ensure the Integrity of For-profit Colleges and Universities” — would, as amended, require an annual review of for-profit colleges by the Commissioner of Education to ensure that they are meeting adequate educational standards. If the Commissioner finds that a for-profit college is not meeting the standards, the degree-granting authority of that college may be terminated. For-profit colleges, like their public and non-profit counterparts, will have to report to the Commissioner on a variety of metrics including how much money is spent on instruction, graduation rates, loan status of graduates, employment status of graduates, and the design and implementation of student support services.

“These reporting standards will help students answer the question: ‘Is what I am buying worth it?’” said Sen. Vitelli. “The data will show whether or not schools are putting forth a good-faith effort to spend tuition money on student learning, and whether or not student outcomes and employment prospects are what they expect and need.”

LD 103 now heads to the Senate and House for additional votes.