U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin said a Senate committee has serious concerns about the country’s burgeoning for-profit school system.

Following a two-year investigation, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which Harkin chairs, found that enrollment skyrocketed in the past 10 years, and so did revenues.“And yet there were disturbing reports about kids dropping out, not getting a good education,” Harkin said.

He said research showed that 96 percent of the for-profit students take out loans to cover education-related costs and more than one in five will default on those loans within three years.

“Not all of them are real bad,” Harkin said. “But the business model is bad because it rewards the bad and punishes the good.”

The Iowa lawmaker said for-profit schools are charging “sky-high” tuition. “In one year, more than 50 percent of the students dropped out. That means the for-profit school got the PELL grants, the direct loans, the student drops out, then the student has the debt around his neck.”

Details for this story were provided by The Ottumwa (Iowa) Courier.

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