WASHINGTON (SBG) - The Department of Education is moving forward with plans to relax some rules around accreditation standards for colleges and universities.
This comes just as a government watchdog is sounding the alarm about the role of your tax dollars in funding some of these schools with shockingly low graduation rates.
At community colleges across America there’s an opportunity for an education without the high price tag of many four-year colleges.
But a new report finds many schools seem to have little incentive to make sure those students succeed.
The taxpayer watchdog group "Open The Books," found the 50 lowest performing junior and community colleges received more than $920 million in student loans and grants; and the ten that received the most federal funding had a just a 12% average graduation rate.
"If they’re not graduating, then they’re saddled with long term excessive debts not only for their students but for their families that’s why these institutions need to do a better job of their core mission of graduating students," said Adam Andrzejewski, the founder and CEO of "Open The Books" in an interview last week.
He said he was shocked to discover the lack of oversight of these schools, and how much money goes to for-profit universities – places like the University of PhoenixStrayer University and Ashford University, schools with graduation rates lower than 30%. He said millions more goes to non-traditional places like Seminaries, Beauty Schools and Bartending Academies.
"The sheer amount of taxpayer public assistance going to these schools is actually driving up the cost of higher education," Andrzejewski said.
The Department of Education declined multiple requests for an interview, but in a statement said the new rules will "allow students to work at their own pace" and "earn credentials more aligned with employers job requirements."
With Americans now saddled with more student loan debt than auto or credit card debt critics worry the new rules will mean many schools graduation rates may drop even more.