With founder of Trump University in charge, for-profit colleges expect fortunes to improve

BOSTON • After nearing collapse under the Obama administration, the for-profit college industry is celebrating Donald Trump's election as a chance for a rebound. As stock prices for some of the nation's largest college chains have surged, industry lobbyists say they have received a warm welcome from Trump's transition team and already have launched a campaign to rebrand the embattled industry as a key to the new president's plan for economic growth. While Trump has yet to detail his education plan, some in the for-profit sector see the president-elect as an ally who has championed the private sector and promised to roll back many of President Barack Obama's regulations. Industry lobbyists hope those include federal "gainful employment" rules, which can cut funding to academic programs whose graduates struggle to pay off student debt, and new borrower defense rules that can force financially unstable schools to put up large sums of money to cover student loans if the school fails. "Unfortunately, the focus in the last eight years has been fighting for survival from an ideological administration that was opposed to our very existence, and hopefully that is a fight we will no longer have to wage," said Steve Gunderson, president of the industry lobbying group Career Education Colleges and Universities and a former Republican congressman. Gunderson said that early conversations with Trump's transition team showed promise for a smoother relationship with the White House. "They absolutely see a place for postsecondary career education which is not exclusively constructed around just four-year liberal-arts programs," Gunderson said. Trump's transition team did not respond to requests for comment. The for-profit college industry has suffered steep enrollment losses since 2010. Many schools blame Obama, whose administration has cracked down on schools accused of fraud and added new regulations that officials say were meant to protect students from abuse. In September, the ITT Technical Institute chain shut down...

Read the full article here