The for-profit college industry is under pressure. Many of its biggest companies are being investigated by federal agencies and state attorneys general for fraud and misrepresentation -- deceiving students, regulators, and investors about job placement rates, costs and quality of programs, transferability of credits, and other matters. Enrollments are down, and share prices have been falling. Now, things are about to get even tougher for these companies -- but, thankfully, a little easier for people tired of being relentlessly pursued by for-profit college recruiters who are desperate to put "asses in classes" and keep the billions in federal student aid money flowing into their bosses' coffers.
On Wednesday, new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules are set to kick in under the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Act, and they will put tighter restrictions on the ways in which for-profit colleges and their lead generator partners can make recruiting calls to past, current, and prospective students. In most cases (whenever calling from a phone that has the "capacity" to autodial), recruiters won't be able to make such calls without prior express written consent. This can include an electronic signature online, but where an online visitor is asked to check a box before proceeding, many of them simply close the browser window without sharing information.