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BOSTON – Attorney General Martha Coakley this month launched a consumer-protection campaign that includes free educational training across the state and a new website offering resources for consumers related to for-profit schools.
The initiative – dubbed Eliminate Deceptive Education Business Tactics, or Eliminate DEBT – was announced as part of an effort to increase awareness of the “deceptive marketing practices” that some for-profit schools use to aggressively pursue prospective students. Additionally, the program hopes to ensure that they receive the training they hope to obtain.
In a statement, Coakley cited government studies that show for-profit schools spend a combined $4.2 billion a year on recruiting and marketing efforts, often targeting veterans, adult learners and low-income families. In 2009, federal taxpayers paid for more than $32 billion in student loans to for-profit institutions. Studies show that an alarming 47 percent of federal loan money paying for for-profit education will end up in default.
Coakley said her office is cooperating with a number of community organizations and government entities and other organizations throughout the state to provide free educational training for groups interested in the issue. The launch of the new website at www.mass.gov/ago/schools will also enable students to access resources online, including information about the industry and practices that should raise red flags for prospective students. •