Gov’t creates new student aid enforcement office

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WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is taking new steps to protect students amid increased scrutiny of for-profits colleges and other schools.

The Education Department is creating a new student aid enforcement unit that it says will “respond more quickly and efficiently to allegations of illegal actions by higher education institutions.”

Critics have complained that the government didn’t move swiftly enough to take action against for-profits like Corinthian Colleges, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year amid fraud allegations, closing schools and leaving thousands of students with hefty student debt and frustrated efforts at securing degrees.

The new unit to investigate potential abuse and fraud will be led by a former Federal Trade Commission enforcement attorney, Robert Kaye.