Many for-profit colleges are accused of broken promises, high prices and not preparing students for the workforce.
The federal government has increased its regulation of them.
It's sparking a big debate in Washington, and two of the main players are North Carolina politicians.
The new chair of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-- N.C., District 5) already said the rules need to go.
The way she sees it, the Obama administration "intentionally targeted and sought to dismantle career colleges and universities with unnecessary regulations."
She praised for-profit schools, calling them "responsive higher learning institutions."
Action 9 investigator Jason Stoogenke found her biggest donor is a for-profit college, Full Sail.
Full Sail is based in Florida and focuses on entertainment and media, offering degrees up to master's. When Stoogenke asked Foxx whether that's a conflict of interest, she emailed, "When an individual or industry offers me their support, they're endorsing my views, not the other way around."
On the other side, 18 attorneys general, including North Carolina's Josh Stein, are urging the federal government not to go easy on for-profit schools.
They sent the federal government a letter, saying undoing the regulations would mean "open season" on students. "We're very concerned," he said. "They're preying on people's dreams."
When students can't pay back debt, taxpayers get stuck with the bill.
Some wonder how much debt students rack up at for-profit colleges. The Brookings Institution created a list of 25 colleges where students are the most in debt. More than half are for-profit schools.
Charlotte School of Law, DeVry, ITT Tech, Brookstone and Kaplan have all had problems in recent years, either financial, legal, or both. "It's been really hard," Charlotte Law student Stefanie Quinde said. "I understand it's a business. But at end of day, the interest of the students, it's, it's a big priority."
"I think the regulations are there for a reason to protect the students, and if you don't have those there, I don't know who is going to be looking out for the students," Charlotte Law student Ashley Brisbon said.
Cox Media Group