Report finds for-profit college students have heavier debt loads

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Hussein Adan, left, a senior, works with Lewiston High School Aspirations Coordinator Doug Dumont in the school’s aspirations lab. Dumont (once $80,000 in student debt) urges: Have a plan. Don’t do what I did in college. Learn more about how to plan better for college financing:

AUGUSTA — A new report finds students at for-profit colleges in Maine carry much heavier debt loads than those at public and private nonprofit colleges in the state.

The non-partisan Center for Responsible Lending says the debt burden falls on low-income, female and minority students who disproportionately enroll at Maine for-profit schools.

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Three-quarters of students at these institutions take out loans, while 76 percent are women, 60 percent are low-income and 8 percent are African-American.

Federal officials in January said hundreds of programs at for-profit colleges are at risk of losing federal funding unless their graduates start earning better wages. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has said she would take another look at that federal rule.

A Maine Democrat’s bill would require annual review of for-profit colleges by the state Board of Education.

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