Today on RIGHT IN DC, I interviewed Adam Andrzejewski, the CEO & Founder of OpenTheBooks.com – one of the largest private databases of government spending in the world. They just released an explosive new oversight report on the US Department of Education that far out shadows the recent pay to play scandal.
This report looks at federally-funded (by taxpayers!) student loans and the effect this has on college tuition, how colleges from the elite wealthy ones down to the questionable and low-performing ones take unfair advantage to game the public subsidies that drive up tuition rates faster than housing, food and healthcare, and how this ends up saddling students with incredible debt they struggle to repay.
Adam provides three bipartisan reform solutions that will help to start fix these serious problems of our higher education system. Listen in!
Open the Books website: https://www.openthebooks.com/
Adam’s Forbes articles: https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/#1f3bdee25f81
Oversight Report – The U.S. Department of Education (Open The Books)
The 25 colleges and universities with the largest endowments in the country reaped $6.9 billion in Department of Education (ED) funding despite holding a quarter-trillion in existing assets, collectively. This money was distributed as grants, contracts, and direct payments (FY2017) as well as student loans (FY2017-FY2018).
The 50 lowest performing junior and community colleges in the nation received $923.5 million in ED student loans (FY2017-FY2018) and grants (FY2017). Of these 50 schools, the 10 which received the most federal funding had a 12 percent graduation rate, on average.
ED overpaid $11 billion in Pell grants and loans over a two-year period (FY2016-FY2017).
Nontraditional schools reaped millions of dollars in federal funding (FY2014-FY2017) such as an international school for videogame design ($51.4 million), a school for wooden boat-making ($781,330), an Arizona college for gun-smithing ($10.4 million), a school for gambling and bartending ($9.5 million), and the Professional Golfers Career College ($4.5 million).
The average wage at ED in FY2017 was $109,918. The average employee cost taxpayers $143,992, including benefits. In May 2018, ED disclosed 3,818 employees – a large decrease from 4,642 employees in 2012.
Nearly $700 million in federal funding flowed to schools of cosmetology, beauty, and hair, including millions of dollars to industry juggernauts like Empire Beauty School ($65.6 million) and Tricoci University of Beauty Culture ($12.3 million) in the form of grants, direct payments, and contracts (FY2017), as well as student loans (FY2017-FY2018).
Federal funding of $10.5 billion flowed to for-profit colleges in FY2017. Just 10 for-profit schools received nearly 30 percent of this funding. Many for-profit colleges have been cited for alleged discrimination, harassment, and even fraud. This funding is comprised of grants, direct payments, and contracts (FY2017) as well as student loans (FY2017-FY2018).
ED spent $1.6 billion hiring companies to collect and disperse federal student loans.
ED employees spent 6,522 working-hours (FY2016) doing union activities rather than working their department jobs. During this time, employees’ hourly wages are still taxpayer funded. This practice is known as ‘official time.’ In March 2018, ED eliminated this policy, saving taxpayers roughly $500,000 annually. Employee unions are private organizations, not public entities.
The top five recipient states claimed 36 percent of all ED funding: California ($18.6 billion), Texas ($12.6 billion), New York ($11.9 billion), Florida ($9.5 billion), and Illinois ($7.2 billion). This funding included grants, contracts, direct payments (FY2017) as well as student loans (FY2017-FY2018).
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