Americans, that's a lot of your tax money down the drain (and lining the pockets of the giant corporations that run these schools). You can go here to browse the figures on some of the other proprietary schools (e.g. Ashford, Kaplan), many of which aren't doing a whole lot better. Should you wish to search conventional public and private universities, go here.
Naturally, the for-profit schools aren't going to take this default rate problem lying down! As Salon's Andrew Leonard explains in a great article, the colleges are now providing counseling to students to help them avoid default:
Lauren Asher, president of the higher education research and advocacy think tank the Institute for College Access and Success, questioned whether Corinthian’s sharp drop in default rates actually served the interests of students. She pointed to a May 3 conference call Corinthian held with investors, in which company executives acknowledged that much of the improvement resulted from “deferment and forbearance. “In other words, Corinthian students were being counseled on how to delay paying back their student loans, in order to avoid defaulting during the three-year window tracked by state and federal governments."Of course, this regime of counseling isn't simply out of the goodness of the proprietary schools' hearts--the threat of federal and state sanctions is motivating them to bring default rates down. Interestingly, as Leonard points out, this counseling may actually be harmful for some students who would default anyway, since delaying default simply adds to the balance of the loan.
Social Issues has lots more coverage on University of Phoenix and its brethren--here, here, and here.