Durbin: Protecting Students Should Be Fitzgerald's Number One Priority In Corinthian Oversight

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today made the following statement after the Department of Education announced that Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates, under the leadership of former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, has been selected to take on the role of independent monitor overseeing Corinthian Colleges’ actions under the operating agreement the company reach with the Department earlier this month. 


“Patrick Fitzgerald’s record as a federal prosecutor leaves little doubt that Corinthian will be under a watchful eye as it goes out of business.  His selection is a wise choice by Secretary Duncan,” said Durbin.  “But I urge the Department of Education to do more to protect students by putting an immediate end to new Corinthian College enrollments.  Allowing this failing company to enroll any new students under the Corinthian brand is grossly unfair and puts more students and taxpayer dollars at risk.”


Earlier this month, Durbin warned Illinois students that Corinthian Colleges which operates under the name “Everest College” plans to seek buyers for its campuses located in Burr Ridge, Bedford Park, Melrose Park, Merrionette Park, North Aurora and Skokie.  As part of an agreement signed with the Department of Education, Corinthian is required to eventually send official disclosures and notifications to students, but for the time being has been allowed to continue enrolling students at a majority of their campuses.


After failing to provide required data to the Department of Education about its practices, including falsifying job placement data used in marketing claims to prospective students and allegations of altered grades and attendance, Corinthian has now agreed to sell or close its campuses across the country. This places the company’s 70,000 current students at risk, but also presents the opportunity to find better educational opportunities for these students.  The for-profit college is currently under investigation by 20 states, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.


On June 26, Durbin joined eleven U.S. Senators in calling on the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to protect students while continuing to hold Corinthian Colleges, Inc. accountable, including immediately prohibiting them from enrolling any new students.  In addition, the Senators asked the Department of Education to answer a series of questions related to the protection of students and taxpayer funding. 


In response to a December 16 investigation in the Huffington Post, Durbin sent a letter to the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, asking him to investigate Corinthian Colleges, Inc. and their manipulative marketing practices which included a subsidy program for employers to hire graduates temporarily and outright lying by the company through their advertisement of numbers substantially higher than actual job placement rates.


After that letter, the Department requested information from Corinthian related to their job placement rates, information they have yet to provide, and denied the company’s new program applications.  Durbin also called on the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges – Corinthian Colleges, Inc.’s accreditor – to take action.