Just a few months ago, California’s Democratic-controlled legislature seemed poised to pass the nation’s toughest restrictions on for-profit colleges. School owners publicly fretted that they’d have to shut down.

Supporters of the seven-bill package, which sailed through the Assembly, hoped California could help close a gap in oversight as the Trump administration has backed away from policing quality in a sector that relies heavily on public money but has been plagued by fraud and poor outcomes. But as the legislative session draws to a close, nearly all of the bills have died or been significantly weakened, felled by a costly lobbying blitz and the complexity of crafting a state-based solution to a nationwide challenge.

Their demise marks a victory for an industry that has been plagued by scandals and school closures in recent years — and a setback for consumer and veterans groups that supported the legislation.

Ramond Curtis, the state policy manager for the advocacy group Veterans Education Success, said he felt outgunned. His group supported Assembly Bill 1343 by Asm. Susan Eggman, aimed at closing a loophole in federal law that lets for-profit colleges subsist almost entirely on public financial aid dollars if the money includes military education benefits. Lowering the ceiling on financial aid to 85 percent of revenue and including GI Bill funds, many veterans groups believed, would remove an incentive for schools to target servicemembers with predatory recruiting.

Read the full story at Comstock’s Magazine, Lobbying Blitz Stymies California’s Crackdown on For-Profit Schools published September 9, 2019.