For-profit educational institutions that leave students with heavy debts and worthless credentials do not belong in the nation’s job-training system. Yet institutions like Corinthian Colleges, which reached an agreement last month with the Department of Education to sell or shut down its campuses, have been ripping off students and taxpayers for years by making false promises and cashing in on federal job-training programs. Regulators and lawmakers have been slow to catch on.
One reliable source of money for these institutions is the federal Workforce Investment Act. Created in 1998, the $3.1 billion program provides vouchers worth $3,000 to $5,000 to help individuals train for jobs in industries like health care, hospitality and manufacturing.