Originally published on March 16, 2016 by Jillian Berman on MarketWatch.
Over the past few years, lawmakers, consumer advocates and others have been raising questions about whether for-profit colleges provide their students with a quality education. A look at the history books indicates concerns about the schools’ role in higher education date back centuries.
As early as the 1780s, proprietary, or for-profit, higher education programs pushed some of America’s first medical schools to water down their graduation requirements, according to “Diploma Mills: How For-Profit Colleges Stiffed Students, Taxpayers and the American Dream.” At that time, states didn’t require doctors to have a degree to practice medicine and students hoping to become doctors could simply shadow one for a certain amount of time, pay them with their labor and ultimately become doctors themselves, said A.J. Angulo, the book’s author and a professor at Winthrop University who specializes in the history of higher education.
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