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For-Profit Schools Under Close Federal Scrutiny

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — U.S. taxpayers spent $32 billion last year on for-profit private schools, despite the sector’s relatively high drop-out rate, according to a congressional investigation released Monday.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions found that during the 2008-2009 school year, which is the most recent data available for withdrawal rates, 54% of for-profit students dropped out without a degree. That translates to more than half a million students in one school year.

The report also noted that for-profit schools charge tuition that is much higher than their public counterparts. Bachelor’s programs at for-profits costs 20% more than public schools, while an associate’s degree at a for-profit institution is four times the cost.

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