Some of the nation's largest for-profit college chains are suffering steep declines in enrollment amid heavier government scrutiny.

DeVry University says the number of students taking classes is down 23 percent this year, and the University of Phoenix is off 22 percent.

One reason: The government has imposed new rules on for-profit colleges and taken action against some schools to curb what authorities say are aggressive and misleading recruiting tactics that leave students with heavy debt and few job prospects.

In recent weeks, the Obama administration imposed sanctions that led the ITT Tech chain to close.