One of the most egregious excesses of American capitalism is the running of for-profit “educational” institutions that promise a degree and a path to prosperity for their students but leave them with a useless diploma and mountains of loans debt.
Millions of desperate Americans looking for a way to provide for themselves in an economy of scarce jobs and inadequate wages hoped that these institutions would offer them a leg up over the competition, only to find themselves worse off than they were before they started.
Which is why it is extremely disturbing to hear that the President has picked an official of one of the worst offending for-profit education companies, DeVry University, to head the Education Department’s fraud enforcement division.
Julian Schmoke, a former associate dean for DeVry’s engineering and information sciences college, is the newest addition to the Trump Department of Education – only the latest in a long line of reprehensible hirings.
DeVry University was forced to pay $100 million in settlement money after the Federal Trade Commission for running false ads telling prospective customers that 90% of their graduates went on to find jobs in their field within six months. They also falsely boasted that their graduates were paid 15% more than others in their field.
The President himself is very familiar with the rampant fraud that dogs the for-profit education industry, having been forced to pay out $25 million in a settlement to the students he exploited for participating in his fraudulent “Trump University” scheme.
The hiring of Schmoke is yet another example of how the Trump administration is doggedly appointing foxes to guard their proverbial henhouses.
Under the neglectful watch of Schmoke and education profiteer Betsy DeVos, the wolves of for-profit colleges are free to once again lie to young Americans looking to get an education and destroy their futures by saddling them with a mountain of debt and leaving them with a cereal-box diploma.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.