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Several Democrats, including Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Al Franken of Minnesota, stressed that there are some for-profits doing a good job. In fact, Mr. Harkin praised Kaplan for recently instituting a five-week tryout period at its campuses, allowing students to attend classes for free for five weeks before committing. If the student decides to withdraw, he owes nothing.

The Education Department is now urging other for-profits to follow Kaplan’s lead