Dave Rice 7:21 a.m., May 21
For-Profit Colleges, Including Bridgepoint, Boost Lobbying
San Diego's Bridgepoint Education closed Thursday at $18.48. That's up from $15.26 on Dec. 1. According to Bloomberg News, for-profit colleges like Bridgepoint are boosting their spending on lobbying to thwart funding restrictions proposed by the U.S. Department of Education. The "gainful employment" restriction would tie eligibility for student-aid programs to graduates' incomes and loan repayment rates, explains Bloomberg. (For-profit colleges have only 10% of the nation's higher education students, but account for 44% of debt defaults). Bridgepoint relies on federal money for 85% of its income.
Bloomberg reports that ten for-profit companies and their trade association spent $3.8 million on lobbying in the first ten months of 2010, up from $1.5 million in the comparable period of 2009. For-profit colleges are hiring ex-members of Congress as lobbyists. According to Bloomberg, Bridgepoint hired Al Wynn, a Maryland Democrat who belonged to the Congressional Black Caucus, and Tim Hutchinson, an Arkansas Republican.
Bridgepoint has also bought its way into the San Diego establishment. Among several things, Dec. 30 is the date of the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium.