Higher Education

New report gives Mississippi an F in regulatory oversight of for-profit colleges

Experts say lack of oversight can lead to poor outcomes for students

A new report says the state of Mississippi does not do enough to regulate for-profit colleges.

A new report says the state of Mississippi does not do enough to regulate for-profit colleges.

Mississippi’s regulatory oversight of for-profit colleges is weak, and the state does not do enough to protect students from these sometimes predatory institutions, according to a new national report by the Children’s Advocacy Institute.

The report details the shaky background of for-profit institutions, including a history of providing inaccurate job placement rates, misleading students about job prospects, and a pattern of saddling students with immense amounts of debt. Reports by other organizations have highlighted the outsized impact such practices have on vulnerable low-income and minority students — including those in Mississippi. A 2012 report by the federal Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee found “state oversight of for-profit education companies has eroded over time due to a variety of factors, including State budget cuts and the influence of the for-profit college industry with State policymakers.”

The new report by the Children’s Advocacy Institute, part of the University of San Diego School of Law, graded each state on its oversight of for-profit institutions, examining such factors as oversight efficacy, regulation of recruiting practices, and the complaint process. Only seven states received a grade above an F. California received the top rating of a B; six states earned a D.

Mississippi received points for having a “multi-member board, commission, or panel created by statute” to oversee for-profit secondary schools and for requiring postsecondary institutions to renew their certificates of registration and gain approval from a state agency on a regular basis. However, the state was docked points because there is no state requirement for regular onsite visits by state officials to private postsecondary institutions and the state does not require increased oversight of schools when they have low graduation rates or low job placement rates.

Check out the full report and details on Mississippi’s scores here.

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Jackie Mader

Jackie Mader is multimedia editor. She has covered preK-12 education and teacher preparation nationwide, with a focus on the rural south. Her work has appeared… See Archive

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