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proprietary, for-profit, higher education, student loans, advertising, marketing, publicity, 1st Amendment, Education Department, graduation, fraud, financial aid


This article argues for stricter regulation of proprietary (for-profit) school advertising and recruitment practices and proffers specific proposals for effectuating this regulation. Proprietary schools play an important role in broadening access to higher education. They enroll a large number of students who are underserved by traditional, non-profit institutions. These students tend to be poorer, less educated, and older than students at traditional schools, and they tend to undertake higher education for very practical reasons. These characteristics make them particularly susceptible to deceptive marketing and unfounded promises of higher education providers. Unfortunately, some proprietary schools exploit the susceptibilities of their target markets by making misrepresentations when marketing their programs and recruiting students. These unscrupulous behaviors contribute to low completion rates and high loan default rates among proprietaryschool students — outcomes that cost students and taxpayers billions of dollars. Therefore, tighter regulationof proprietary school marketing and recruitment practices is needed.

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