In a Fight to Preserve Their Market, For-Profit Colleges Lobby Hard Against a Proposed Rule

For-profit colleges, faced with the threat of program closures, have gone on a lobbying and public-relations blitz, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in an attempt to beat back an Education Department proposal to cut off federal student aid to for-profit programs whose graduates carry high debt-to-income loads.

In the five months since the department offered its controversial "gainful-employment proposal," for-profit colleges and their chief association have spent at least