For-profit colleges and universities have received increased scrutiny in recent years for their part in helping to drive up the level of U.S. student debt, which now tops $1.3 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
True, the rise in student debt isn’t all attributable to for-profit schools. States cut funding for higher education during the Great Recession. And overall, tuition increases have simply outpaced earnings for decades, leaving many students with little option but to go into debt to pay for school.
But for-profit colleges stand out for one reason: As a group, they saddle students with higher debt loads, and leave many without a degree.
How does this happen?
VICE Money talked to former students of a for-profit college known as the New England Institute of Art, who are hoping to file a class-action lawsuit aimed at having their outstanding debt dismissed. Here’s what they had to say.