the faces of the for-profit college crisis

Each year, tens of thousands of American students are harmed by predatory colleges and universities. These are their voices. These are their stories. 

47% of students who attend for-profit colleges end up defaulting on their loans

Source: Brookings Institution, "The looming student loan default crisis is worse than we thought", 2018

$29,650 The average debt balance for new graduates

Source: TICAS, "Quick Facts About Student Debt", April 2019

$1.6 Trillion Amount American Borrowers Owe in Student Loans


Source: Federal Reserve Consumer Credit Data (G.19), December 2019

87% Of For-Profit College Students Take Out Student Loans To Attend

Demos, "The Debt Divide", 2015

52% of students at for-profit schools don't graduate within six years


Source: National Student Clearinghouse, "Completing College", 2019

About Student Defense

In 2019, Student Defense partnered with the filmmakers of the award-winning higher education documentary, Fail State, to build “Shattered.” This living database aims to document and maintain the stories of American college students who have had their lives ruined by predatory colleges and universities.

About Fail State

Executive produced by news legend Dan Rather, Fail State is a 2018 feature documentary that investigates the rise of predatory for-profit colleges in American higher education. Fail State debuted in December of 2018 on STARZ. https://failstatemovie.com/

Special Thanks

Photos, videos, and interviews by Alexander Shebanow

Camera & Sound Operators: Terrence Crawford, Tyler Comes, Anastasia Damyan, Nicholas Adams

Additional student interviews by Fail State Documentary

Music supplied by Fail State Documentary, composed by Keegan Dewitt and Jeremy Bullock