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Connecticut’s For-Profit Colleges Leave Students in Debt and Without Degrees at High Rates, CRL Research Shows

Monday, March 13, 2017
Robin Howarth
Lisa Stifler

A new report released today by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) shows that four-year for-profit colleges in Connecticut are leaving students with lower graduation rates, higher debt loads, and high default rates. These difficulties fall especially heavily on students of color, who are disproportionately enrolled in for-profit colleges in across the state.

CRL analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Education and found the following:

  • For-profit college students in Connecticut are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic. While 11.1% of all Connecticut undergraduates attend for-profit colleges, 18% of for-profit college students are African-American and 23% are Hispanic.
  • For-profit college students are also disproportionately low-income, as measured by the number of students with Pell Grants. Sixty-five percent of Connecticut’s for-profit college students received Pell Grants, compared to 45% and 25% of students with Pell Grants who attend public and private, non-profit colleges respectively.
  • Only 35% of Connecticut’s four-year for-profit college students graduate, compared to 55% and 67% of their public and private peers, respectively.
  • For those who do graduate, for-profit students have substantially higher debt levels.
  • For-profit college students have an education loan default rate of three times that of their public and private school peers.

"As we have seen in other states and across the country, for-profit college students in Connecticut are suffering hardships that their peers at public and private, non-profit colleges just don’t experience in the same numbers," said CRL Deputy Director of State Policy Lisa Stifler. "The evidence shows that for-profit colleges draw students in with aggressive marketing, and too often dash their hopes for the kinds of lives and careers that a quality, affordable college education could have given them."

While the federal government has taken steps to address problems at for-profit colleges, CRL recommends that states institute strong reforms to protect students within their borders. For example, states can require that for-profits spend more taxpayer dollars on instruction rather than recruitment advertising, require that programs fully prepare students for employment in their chosen fields, including eligibility for licensing, and protect students from taking out deceptive high-cost loans and other predatory lending practices.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a CRL spokesperson on this issue, please contact Carol Hammerstein at