Does the for-profit college industry have any friends left? Seriously, it’s getting really ugly out there.

With new government regulations looming and a seemingly constant stream of bad press, for-profit higher education is on the ropes. They charge exorbitant prices, they provide sub-standard education, they target vulnerable students, they have an abysmal job placement record, and they do it all on the government dime.

Now even the National Review, the nation’s most prominent conservative journal, is getting in on the act. In a new post yesterday on the magazine’s Phi Beta Cons education site, blogger Carol Iannone quotes fellow conservative Peter Wood of the National Association of Scholars as declaring that such institutions prey on “individuals who have a combination of poor academic preparation, little sign of academic aptitude, poor credit risk, and time on their hands,” leaving “a large majority … floundering — and deeper in debt.”

“For-profits’ students,” Iannone adds, “have four times the default rate as the non-profits’ students,” and the industry is set to “drain the Treasury of half a trillion dollars in the next ten years.”