For-profit colleges have long blamed the sector's higher-than-average default rates on the sociodemographics of their students. According to the Career College Association, 43 percent of students attending for-profits are members of minority groups, and almost half are the first in their families to attend college. More than three-quarters are employed.
In the 2009-10 academic year, the average for-profit institution charged $14,174 in tuition and fees, according to the College Board, and the average community college only $2,544.
Thirty percent of loans made to students attending four-year for-profit colleges have defaulted within 15 years of entering repayment, more than twice the default rates at public and private nonprofit four-year colleges, which are 15.1 percent and 13.6 percent, respectively.