David Halperin

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David Halperin (@DHalpDC) engages in public advocacy and advises organizations on strategy, policy, politics, communications, and legal matters. He was previously: founding director of Campus Progress and senior vice president at the Center for American Progress; senior policy advisor for Howard Dean's presidential campaign; founding executive director of the American Constitution Society; White House speechwriter and special assistant for national security affairs to President Clinton; co-founder of the Internet company RealNetworks; and counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee. He graduated from Yale College and Yale Law School. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Nation, Politico, Foreign Policy, and other outlets. David Halperin's pieces on Republic Report also appear on Huffington Post -- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/davidhalperin/. Current support for David Halperin's work for Republic Report on higher education issues includes grants from the Ford Foundation, The Institute for College Access & Success, and the Center for Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego.

December 17, 2014
everest-college-you-can-do-it-large-1

Declaring Corinthian Colleges Too Big To Fail: A Terrible Idea

The U.S. Department of Education has blessed a deal under which a non-profit student debt collection company, Minnesota-based Education Credit Management Corporation (ECMC), will pay $24 million to acquire 56 campuses, operating under the brands Everest and WyoTech, owned by collapsing Corinthian Colleges, one of the most abusive and deceptive for-profit college companies. The terms of this deal are extraordinarily unfavorable to students.  The agreement creates a remarkable conflict of interest for the Department itself, and it sets terrible precedents for future failing colleges.

The deal is so bad that it seems that the Department is determined to prop …

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December 10, 2014
Geismar LA

30 years after Bhopal, Long Past Time To Make Chemical Plants Safer

Thirty years ago this month, a gas leak at a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, created a toxic cloud that eventually killed perhaps 20,000 people and injured 500,000 more. No chemical accident since then has approached the scale of the Bhopal disaster, but chemical plant tragedies continue every year, including in the United States — most recently a poison gas leak that killed four workers last month at a La Porte, Texas, plant owned by DuPont.

An explosion last year at a West, Texas, fertilizer plant, which killed 15 people and injured 160 more, prompted the Obama Administration to undertake a multi-agency review of …

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December 4, 2014
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Neutron CEO Tells Customers That Republic Report Stories Are False; Ex-Employees Disagree

While one for-profit college in Miami, called FastTrain, has just been sued by law enforcement for, among other things, allegedly hiring scantily-clad women to lure men to its admissions office (an allegation noted by Republic Report back in May 2012), another group of operators in Salt Lake City has been using a different scam — phony bait-and-switch websites — to entice low-income Americans into high-priced, poor-quality career college programs. Republic Report has been exposing these operations for the past few weeks, and one of the companies named is now responding.

Republic Report has obtained a letter from Neutron Interactive CEO Dan Caffee, …

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November 24, 2014
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For-Profit College Marketer Thrived By Posting Fake Ads To Popular Job Sites

 

Neutron Interactive, a Salt Lake City-based business, regularly posted fake job listings on popular job websites including Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com for the purpose of tricking job-seekers into visiting its own websites, according to former Neutron employees. These Neutron Interactive websites, still operating today, also promise jobs, but in reality they usually offer none; their real purpose, say these former employees, is to convince visitors — low-income people, single mothers, veterans, the elderly, all in desperate need of jobs — to provide their cell phone numbers, so marketers at other companies, which pay Neutron for the leads, can sell them overpriced for-profit college programs.

Neutron Interactive’s Continue Reading »

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November 20, 2014
1aRibbon-Cutting

ECMC CEO Explains Deal To Buy Troubled Corinthian Campuses

Confirming rumors that have swirled for weeks, today ECMC Group announced it has reached an agreement to acquire 56 of the 107 campuses now owned by the crumbling, discredited Corinthian Colleges for-profit chain.  A corporate filing from Corinthian says the purchase price is $24 million.  I spoke with ECMC’s CEO Dave Hawn this morning to discuss.

ECMC, a non-profit corporation with both for-profit and non-profit subsidiaries, says it will convert the 56 Everest and WyoTech campuses to nonprofit status. ECMC announced it will “transform the culture and education model at the acquired schools,” including by cutting tuition and “introducing strict accountability standards …

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November 13, 2014
SNAP

Still More Scam For-Profit College Websites – Linked to Dallas Mystery Man

I reported yesterday and this morning on scam websites that promise people help with jobs, food stamps, heat assistance, Medicaid — things that low-income and working Americans want — but the sites are really just fronts to get people’s phone numbers, so workers at a call center in Utah can pitch them on enrolling in overpriced, low-quality for-profit colleges.

Within 90 minutes after I posted my story yesterday, one of the sites I discussed, localemploymentnetwork.org, had been shut down. Perhaps just caution by its operators, or perhaps some concern about suggestions I made that the site’s owner, Neutron Interactive, and the …

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November 13, 2014
MedCareer1

More Scam Websites to Lure the Poor to For-Profit Colleges

Yesterday I reported on how a Utah-based company, Neutron Interactive, operated a website that promised jobs but was in reality a scam — it seemed to function mainly to send customer leads to at least one other company’s Salt Lake City call center, called EdSoup, whose only purpose, in turn, is to recruit people, mostly low-income people, to high-priced training programs at for-profit colleges. Similar sites promise food stamps, Medicaid, and heating assistance, but all lead to more pitches to sign up for expensive programs at the University of Phoenix, Brown Mackie, Colorado Tech, Kaplan, and other for-profits.  EdSoup …

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November 12, 2014
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Scam: Websites Promising Jobs And Medicaid Are Instead Bait for For-Profit College Telemarketers

A network of U.S. marketing companies run glossy websites promising jobs, health benefits, food stamps, and heating assistance, sites with names like localemploymentnetwork.org or medicaidinsurancebenefits.com. But according to former employees of a company connected to these operations, the real purpose of these sites is a classic bait-and-switch: to get low-income people, single mothers, veterans, and unemployed older people on the telephone and push them into high-cost for-profit college programs.

Based on the accounts of these employees, and documents they have provided to Republic Report, the operations may well be in violation of federal statutes prohibiting deceptive marketing and unwanted telephone sales calls, as well as Department of …

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