Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) sent a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan today demanding answers regarding efforts by a task force, headed-up by the Department of Education and comprised of at least eight federal agencies, to unfairly target the University of Phoenix and other fully-accredited for-profit educational institutions. In the letter, the senators express serious concern about the lack of information about the interagency task force’s overall authority, mission, duties and activities. They also question Senator Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) participation in the interagency task force meeting this week to discuss his views on for-profit higher education.

“As Congressional leaders on these most critical issues, we are seeking clear and consistent oversight of all postsecondary institutions to ensure students and families are afforded a quality and accessible education,” said the senators. “It is our understanding that this task force is comprised of at least eight federal agencies and will utilize staff and other resources of those agencies. It is our hope that these publicly-funded resources will be directed toward a fair and transparent review of issues facing for-profit and non-profit institutions, and not for a pre-conceived, political agenda to stir the pot of public perception. To do so otherwise would neither be productive nor benefit the public trust.”

Earlier this week, Senators Alexander, McCain, Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Ron Johnson (R-WY) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) sent a letter to Secretary Duncan requesting information about the interagency task force’s authority and mission, particularly in light of DOD and other participating agencies’ adverse actions against the University of Phoenix and other for-profit institutions. Last month, Senators Alexander, McCain, and Flake sent a letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter urging him to examine and reconsider DOD’s decision to put the University of Phoenix on probation regarding its participation in the DOD Tuition Assistance Program for active-duty military personnel.

The signed letter is here.