Corinthian tried one tactic that seemed counterintuitive. It raised its tuition. Because the total cost was higher, it could receive even more federal loans under the 90 percent rule.
The government requires colleges to disclose what proportion of students earn degrees and what proportion then finds employment in their chosen fields. Kent Jenkins, a Corinthian vice president, told me that across all the company's campuses, 61 percent of students graduate and 69 percent of graduates find jobs. Both figures, he said, are far better than those at many public colleges.
But are they accurate? Since January, the Education Department has been asking Corinthian for data and for calculations for each campus. Because much of that information is already supposedly disclosed to students, obtaining the figures should have been easy, but the department says much of it has not been supplied and that even less supporting data has been provided. That failure to provide information was cited by the department when it said it would delay releasing student loan payments.