Education Management Corp., a large player in the for-profit higher education industry, has added Covington & Burling to its lobbying team as it fights proposed regulatory changes.
The company, which had no registered lobbyists before 2009, is now working with four firms, according to U.S. Senate records. In addition to Covington, the company is a client of Barnes & Thornburg, GrayLoeffler and Heather Podesta + Partners.
Bill Wichterman, a senior legislative adviser at Covington and former special assistant to President George W. Bush, is listed on the latest registration. Wichterman (pictured below) did not return a call requesting comment. A spokeswoman for Education Management had no immediate comment. The registration was filed Monday and is effective Sept. 15.
The for-profit higher education industry is objecting to new regulations that the U.S. Department of Education is pushing. Department officials say that some colleges don’t prepare students adequately for “gainful employment,” which is a requirement for students at those colleges to receive government-backed student loans. The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions is holding a series of hearings on the industry.
The National Law Journal reported last month that several other for-profit higher education companies have hired lobbyists and lawyers to respond to the new scrutiny. Westwood College of Denver, Colo., recently hired Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.
Education Management had more than 136,000 students as of October 2009, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It runs programs in the law, business, pharmacy, the arts and other subjects.