Predatory Tactics by For-Profit Colleges Affecting Students Nationwide

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

In March 2016, Annie Waldman, writing for ProPublica, reported how Corinthian College used disingenuous recruiting tactics to mislead impoverished, prospective students to sign up for programs they offered, with the intention to make a profit. Legal documents have been filed against the school for misconduct and there are several suits pending. The college allegedly coerced students who were homeless and/or had low self-esteem to enroll. They encouraged students to take out federal student loans, despite their financial position.

ProPublica’s investigation produced Corinthian documents detailing exactly how they trained employees to target what they considered to be an ideal student type: “Low-self Esteem; Stuck, unable to plan for future; few people in their lives that care about them.” They advertised non-existent online programs to lure more candidates and continued to do so, until the attorney general notified them of its findings.

Furthermore, the school encouraged students to acquire loans from a bank linked to Corinthian with undisclosed financial connections, and the college used questionable methods to collect payments from students.

Though corporate news media have covered Corinthian College’s bankruptcy and closure, these reports have not typically detailed the long-term impacts on the students who were victimized by the college and its predatory practices.

In March 2016, a California Superior Court judge ruled that Corinthian Colleges misled students and engaged in illegal debt collection practices. The Court ordering Corinthian to pay over $1.1 billion in restitution and civil penalties.

Source: Annie Waldman, “How a For-Profit College Targeted the Homeless and Kids With Low Self-Esteem,” Propublica, March 18, 2016,

Student Researcher: Brittany Becerra (Citrus College)

Faculty Evaluator: Andy Lee Roth (Citrus College)