Sen. Kelly Ayotte returned campaign donations from a for-profit college chain under investigation by the Justice Department. Sen. Marco Rubio took fire in the presidential primary because he asked regulators to go easy on a chain that later collapsed after a federal fraud investigation. And Hillary Clinton’s been facing questions about her husband’s $17.5 million payout as “honorary chancellor” for global for-profit Laureate Education.
For years, politicians from both parties have extolled the virtues of for-profit colleges, often after the education companies poured millions into campaign coffers, paid them to speak or put them on the payroll. The relationships often helped the industry escape deep regulatory scrutiny and thrive on a steady pipeline of federal student-aid funds.