Sen. Tom Harkin. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, releases a report flagging high rates of loan default, aggressive recruiting practices and higher than average tuition, among other things, at for-profit schools on Capitol Hill on July 30, 2012. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

By Suevon Lee

The for-profit higher education industry was the target of a bruising report issued last week. Based on a two-year effort, the report detailed high rates of loan default, aggressive recruiting, higher than average tuition, low retention rates, and little job placement assistance. It was spearheaded by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, a longtime critic of the industry.

The report has provoked some pushback. The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, a membership organization composed of accredited for-profit schools, issued a statement criticizing what it saw as “continued political attacks” on the for-profit sector. Saying the report “twists the facts to fit a narrative,” it went on to challenge several figures.

It didn’t contest the following numbers.

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