AUGUSTA – A Democrat’s bill to require annual review of for-profit colleges is headed to Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s desk.

A recent Center for Responsible Lending report found that students at for-profit colleges in Maine carry much heavier debt loads than those at public and private nonprofit colleges in the state.

The bill by Sen. Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, passed the Senate on Monday and the House last week.

The U.S. Department of Education found this year that more than 800 career-training programs nationwide were leaving graduates saddled with debt that exceeds 12 percent of their total earnings, which put the schools at risk of losing access to federal loans and grants.

Nationwide several for-profit schools have been the subject of state and federal investigations in recent years and faced lawsuits alleging deception in advertising and recruiting tactics.

The Maine Board of Nursing received anonymous complaints about InterCoast Career Institute’s nursing program in 2012, and the board told InterCoast it had to obtain accreditation for its program by 2014. By 2015, InterCoast agreed to surrender its state certification and wind down its operations.

Vitelli’s bill would have the state examine the process at for-profit colleges for handling student complaints.