By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog

ST PETERSBURG — Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate are blasting private colleges for high tuition rates and uncertain job prospects for students, but some researchers have countered that the problems are emblematic of all higher education, a result of virtuously limitless federal subsidies.

report by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, chaired by U.S. Sen.Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, made the case for more stringent regulation and scrutiny of so called ‘for-profit’ colleges. The report also calls for denying federally guaranteed loans for students attending those schools in some cases. The report was made public July 29.

“For-profit colleges ask students with modest financial resources to take a big risk by enrolling in high-tuition schools,” states the report in its executive summary.

“When students withdraw, as hundreds of thousands do each year, they are left with high monthly payments but without a commensurate increase in earning power from new training and skills.”

Providing significant analysis on 30 education companies, it focused on two from Florida, Education America, based in Heathrow, and the Keiser School in Fort Lauderdale.

The report notes that schools run by both companies take in more than 75 percent of their revenue from subsidized loans from the federal government, provided to students

According to the Department of Education, four-year public universities raised their tuition more than 15 percent between 2008-2010, keeping on par with private universities and pointing toward a larger trend of general price inflation in the nation’s educational institutions.

Read more: Florida Watchdog