The Young Invicibles held a media event  on Capitol Hill last week during which the student advocacy group and four Democratic Senators called for stronger regulation of the for-profit sector. Dymond Blackmon, a former student, spoke at the event. He said he racked up more than $90,000 in debt while earning an associate degree from the International Academy of Design and Technology, which is owned by Career Education Corp., a for-profit chain.
Some readers questioned how Blackmon spent that much money on a two-year degree, particularly given that the academy's annual tuition and fees  were $12,000 or less when he attended it. Blackmon, through a Young Invincibles spokesman, declined to sign a waiver for federal privacy requirements, which would have allowed Career Education to release more detail about his time at the academy. But the company was able to provide some additional information without violating privacy rules.
Blackmon first enrolled at an academy campus in Orlando in January of 2005. He attended that campus for two years before transferring to another academy location in Tampa Bay. He said he was forced to transfer because the Orlando campus did not offer courses he needed for his major. But it's impossible to verify that claim without more information. Blackmon attended the Tampa campus for another 2.5 years. After 4.5 years he earned an associate of science in digital photography. The total tuition and fees for that time period would be far less than the $90,000 in debt and additional loans Blackmon said his mother took out to pay for the degree, so it's likely he used a substantial portion of those loan amounts for living or other expenses.