School for gaming and bartending receives federal funding

By Steve Wilson
April 15, 2019

If you’ve gambled at a Mississippi casino at a dealer-served game or gotten a drink served by a bartender, your tax dollars probably contributed heavily to their education.

According to a report by non-partisan fiscal transparency group Open the Books, the Crescent City School of Gaming and Bartending — with campuses in Biloxi, Las Vegas, Memphis and New Orleans —received $9.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education from 2014 to 2017. 

The school offers a three-week bartending course, a 12-week beverage management course, and its gaming department trains potential dealers in blackjack, roulette, poker, baccarat and craps. 

Mississippi as a state, according to the report, received $1.6 billion from the Department of Education in fiscal 2017, which included $241 million in direct payments, $480 million in grants and $912 million in loans. 

California received the most, with $18.5 billion, followed by Texas ($12.5 billion), New York ($11.9 billion) and Florida ($9.49 billion).

The U.S. Department of Education spent $115 billion last year, with $5.9 billion going to the 25 colleges and universities with the largest endowments (a combined quarter trillion in existing endowments).

This included $2.3 billion in student loans in fiscal 2015 to 2016 and $1.2 billion in fiscal 2017 to 2018. 

The Department of Education admitted that overpayments accounted for $11 billion of the money spent on funding higher education, with $7.1 billion in overpayments on direct loans and $4.1 billion as Pell Grants.

The Crescent City School of Gaming and Bartending wasn’t the only non-traditional school to receive money from the Department of Education. A school for video game development education, the DigiPen Institute of Technology, received $51.4 million from fiscal years 2014 to 2017.

The Professional Golfers Career College received $4.5 million between fiscal years 2014 to 2017 and the school teaches golf shop operations, methods of golf instruction, golf rules, and course management.

The Department of Education also paid $74.2 million from fiscal years 2014 to 2017 to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, $43.5 million during that same time period to the a fashion college called the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising, and $10.4 million to a gunsmithing college called the Sonoran Desert Institute.

The 50 lowest-performing community colleges received $923.5 million in federal student loans and grants. Ten of these schools had an average graduation rate of 12 percent.

According to the report, for-profit colleges received $10.5 billion in fiscal 2017, with 10 of these schools receiving 30 percent of the funding, which included grants, direct payments, contracts and student loans.

Seminaries received $815 million from fiscal 2014 to 2017.


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