Where do for-profit colleges get the money they spend on all those highway billboards and television and radio ads?
Mostly from the government, at least indirectly. Federal money, most of it through the financial aid that students get, accounts for up to 90 percent of for-profit colleges' revenue -- even more in some cases if veterans attend the school on the GI bill.
And while figures vary, some institutions spend a quarter or more of their revenue on recruiting, far more than traditional colleges. In some cases, recruiting expenses approach what these institutions spend on instruction.
A recent Senate report on 15 large, publicly traded for-profit education companies said they got 86 percent of their revenue from taxpayers and have spent a combined $3.7 billion annually on marketing and recruiting.