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For-profit colleges face federal crackdown

The industry has seen growing criticism of its high-powered marketing and the heavy debt many students incur, as well as doubts about the value of the degrees it offers.

February 06, 2011|By Walter Hamilton, Los Angeles Times

She believes that the system is designed to divert students' attention from the debt they're accumulating. Corinthian handled all her loans and gave evasive answers when she asked for details, Cogdill said.

"They don't tell you how much you're borrowing until after the fact," she said. "I had no idea that after graduating I would be $40,000 in debt."

In some ways, Miller, the aspiring doctor, is doing better than other Corinthian alumni. She landed a job as a surgical technician shortly after graduating but says she got it only with the help of a friend's mother and can't advance unless she starts college all over.

Miller and two other former students have sued Corinthian, alleging that they were misled about accreditation and tuition.

Corinthian says it clearly discloses tuition and accreditation issues. For example, the company says it makes every new student sign a form that says credits generally can't be transferred to other colleges or universities.

"There is no hide the ball here," Massimino said.

Despite her frustration with Corinthian, Miller recognizes that the school's statistics will count her as a graduate working in the field she studied.

"I'm a success story to them," she said.

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