Harkin Delays Senate Hearing on For-Profit Colleges

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, the education committee chairman investigating for-profit colleges, delayed a hearing on the industry that was set for Feb. 17.

Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, hasn’t set a new date for the hearing, which was moved “to accommodate the schedule of a key witness,” said Justine Sessions, a spokeswoman for the committee.

“We are working to find a new date that works for everyone,” Sessions said today in an e-mail.

The Senate committee is scrutinizing recruitment practices and student loan repayment at for-profit colleges, such as those run by Apollo Group Inc. and the Washington Post Co.’s Kaplan Higher Education unit. Sessions declined to disclose the topic of the hearing or the name of the witness.

Apollo, based in Phoenix, rose 36 cents, or less than a percent, to $42.50 at 4 p.m. in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. Washington Post fell $3.70, or less than a percent, to $431.14 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

Harkin held a hearing Aug. 4, on deceptive student recruitment practices at 15 for-profit colleges, that was based on a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. Republican Representatives Darrell Issa of California and John Kline of Minnesota are conducting an inquiry into revisions in the report that the GAO made in November.

‘Serious Flaws’

Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Kline, chairman of the House education committee, sent a letter to the GAO Feb. 3, demanding agency documents and interviews with officials. The letter cited “serious flaws” in the GAO’s report.

Harkin has also reported on the recruitment of military personnel and veterans by for-profit colleges. The report, issued Dec. 9, found that 20 for-profit colleges reaped $521 million from armed-services and veterans education programs in 2010, seven times as much as in 2006.

To contact the reporter on this story: John Lauerman in Boston at jlauerman@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Kaufman at jkaufman17@bloomberg.net

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