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Bill Targets For-Profit College Executives

September 30, 2015

A handful of Senate Democrats on Tuesday introduced new legislation that would give the U.S. Department of Education greater powers to hold the executives of for-profit colleges accountable for fraud committed by the institutions they run.

The bill -- which is sponsored by Democratic Senators Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sherrod Brown of Ohio -- calls for enhanced civil penalties against the executive officers of colleges that misrepresent information, such as job placement rates, to students.

It would allow the Education Department to hold college executives personally liable for any federal student aid funds that must be returned to the government because of a finding against the college. And the legislation would also bar the board members and executive officers of colleges against which the Education Department has taken an enforcement action from leading another college that receives federal aid.

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Michael Stratford

Michael Stratford, Reporter, covers federal policy for Inside Higher Ed. He joined the publication in August 2013 after a stint covering the Arkansas state legislature for The Associated Press. He previously worked and interned at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine and The Chronicle of Higher Education. At The Chronicle, he wrote about federal policy and covered higher education issues in the 2012 elections. Michael grew up in Belmont, Mass. and graduated from Cornell University, where he was managing editor of The Cornell Daily Sun.

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