Taxpayer-backed student loans accounted for $32 billion in revenue last year for for-profit colleges. The return on investment is terrible. The majority of students enrolling in these colleges leave without a degree, half within four months.

For-profit colleges place revenues above education, and charge students high tuition and loan rates that lead to crippling debt. That’s the bottom line of a scathing report commissed by Democrats in the U.S. Senate and released last week to cheers from a public clamoring for attention to be paid to this sector of higher education.

A New York Times article described the Senate report capping a two-year investigation of for-profit colleges, a “voluminous, hard-hitting indictment of almost every aspect of the industry, filled with troubling statistics and anecdotes.”

Not harsh enough.

Taxpayer-backed student loans accounted for $32 billion in revenue for the colleges last year. Taxpayers’ return on investment was terrible. The majority of students enrolling in these colleges leave without a degree, half within four months.

Meanwhile, risky lending in student loans, many by students at for-profit colleges, have produced so much debt they rival the subprime mortgage crisis.

The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, the leading trade group of for-profit colleges, says it is being singled out unfairly and blames its low graduation rates on its student body, noting they are largely working-class students often combining work family and education. Is that a good enough excuse?