President Donald Trump's administration selected a for-profit college industry insider to lead a unit of the Education Department responsible for monitoring higher education fraud.
An internal email obtained by Politico revealed that Julian Schmoke Jr., "who previously directed campus operations at West Georgia Technical College and served as a dean at DeVry University, will be the department’s new chief enforcement officer."
The Student Aid Enforcement Unit was created under former President Barack Obama in an attempt to "more aggressively combat fraud and deceptive practices at colleges and universities," Politico reported.
Federal Student Aid Office head, A. Wayne Johnson, praised Schmoke's experience in an internal email. "Julian possesses over 16 years of experience in higher education leadership with extensive knowledge in the development and implementation of strategies for achieving student success, higher education policy and evaluation of academic programs," the email said.
The Federal Trade Commission alleged that DeVry University, where Schmoke was formerly employed between 2008 and 2012, "misled students about their job and salary prospects" and the for-profit school's parent company, now rebranded as Adtalem Global Education, paid out $100 million to resolve them.
For-profit schools have been a plague on the world of education, sucking up resources and leaving students in trouble. As Salon noted in 2013:
For too many, school has greased the downward slide. Nearly every single graduate of a for-profit school — 96 percent, according to a 2008 Department of Education survey — leaves with debt. The industry ate 25 percent of federal student aid in the 2009–2010 school year. That’s debt its students can’t pay. The loan default rate among for-profit college students is more than double that of their peers in both public and nonprofit private schools, because the degrees and certificates the students are earning are trap doors to more poverty, not springboards to prosperity.
But within the Trump administration's Department of Education — headed by Betsy DeVos, who has been eager to delay regulations meant to protect college students — these dubious institutions have had no problem infiltrating the government.