May 27, 2016
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New Law Firm Monitor for Zenith: Like the Old One, It Represented Corinthian

 

The U.S. Department of Education announced today it has “accepted” the law firm Squire Patton Boggs as the new “independent monitor” for Zenith Education Group. Zenith is a division of the non-profit debt collection company ECMC, which, with Department approval, last year took over many Everest College and WyoTech campuses of the now-defunct, notoriously predatory for-profit Corinthian Colleges.

The Department told the Associated Press today that it picked the firm from among seven candidates proposed by Zenith.

A partner at the firm, Clark Kent Ervin, is slated, according to the Department, to …

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May 25, 2016
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Veterans Groups Oppose Manchin Amendment Giving For-Profit Colleges Unfettered Access to Military Bases

Just as America’s veterans organization are coming together to demand better government protection against deceptive and abusive practices by for-profit colleges, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) seems to want to move in the opposite direction, pushing an amendment that would require the Pentagon to allow any college approved for military tuition benefits to have unrestricted access to recruit on military bases.  Veterans and military groups, as well as other Senators, are now working to stop this Manchin amendment.

Senator Manchin’s amendment might please, among others, a for-profit college headquartered in his home state, American Public University System (APUS), which runs the …

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May 19, 2016
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University of Phoenix Won’t Force Students to Arbitrate Claims; Scope Unclear

The University of Phoenix just announced that it will no longer require students to agree when enrolling to give up their rights to pursue in court any disputes with the school. Many for-profit colleges have used such fine-print clauses to force any complaint into secret arbitration proceedings that tend to be stacked against students and keep school abuses from coming to light.

The Department of Education is currently considering issuing new regulations that would prohibit or limit the ability of colleges receiving federal aid from imposing such mandatory arbitration clauses. (I am working with our coalition of pro-student …

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May 16, 2016

Stuff For-Profit College Executives Say

The market analysis division of Credit Suisse held a two-day conference in March addressing for-profit education, and many for-profit college industry executives and consultants attended the meeting, held in Boston. Credit Suisse analyst and long-time for-profit college booster Trace Urdan published a revealing write-up of the session on March 21. The press of other business, plus, of course, respect for Credit Suisse paid subscribers, has kept me from describing the report until now, but it’s a fascinating document for those who want to know what for-profit college executives talk about when they talk about for-profit colleges, behind closed doors.

Some highlights:

— DeVry University management, …Continue Reading »

May 13, 2016
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Bush EPA Head Says Obama Chemical Safety Plan Is Too Weak

Former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman (R), who headed the EPA under President George W. Bush, has written to President Obama’s EPA head, Gina McCarthy, to argue that the EPA’s proposed regulation to reduce the risks of explosions at U.S. chemical plants is too weak.  Whitman writes that her purpose is “to urge the EPA to strengthen” its rule “to increase the safety of the American people,” particularly by requiring numerous high-risk chemical facilities to move to inherently safer technologies (IST).

A chemical plant disaster could result from accident, natural disaster, or deliberate attack.  The EPA has identified 466 chemical facilities …

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April 28, 2016
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Case Builds Against For-Profit Colleges Denying Students Legal Rights

In recent months, leading Members of Congress, state attorneys general, and non-profit groups have called on the Department of Education to stop colleges that receive federal student aid from forcing students to resolve disputes with their schools in secret arbitration proceedings. (I’ve been active in this advocacy effort.)  After decades of neglecting this issue, the Department of Education appears ready to take steps to protect the right of students to bring their grievances to court.

But the Department has wavered between approaches: fully banning mandatory arbitration clauses or, instead, issuing only a limited ban.

Nothing that advocates have …

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April 17, 2016
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Departure of Head of College Accrediting Group Won’t Fix the Problem

 

I’ve received information that Albert C. Gray, who has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of the controversial accrediting body the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), may be leaving that organization.

Sunday afternoon I emailed Anthony Bieda, ACICS’s Vice President of External Affairs, asking him about this information — that his group’s CEO would no longer be CEO. Bieda replied: “No comment, on behalf of the Board of ACICS.”

UPDATE 04-18-16 9:30 am: This morning, Albert Gray’s name no longer appears on the ACICS website staff page. Anthony Bieda’s title has been changed to “Executive in …

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April 1, 2016
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For-Profit College Trade Group Responds to Obama Reforms With Tantrum

I was just alerted to this gem of a tantrum / press release issued two weeks ago by the for-profit college trade association APSCU, whose strategy of aggressive, expensive lobbying and litigation has utterly failed, and which now has lost much of its funding. Having harbored as members now disgraced and shut-down schools like Corinthian, ATI, and FastTrain, and having been dominated by and having now lost as members troubled industry giants like EDMC, ITT, Kaplan, Career Education Corp., and Bridgepoint, APSCU is down to its indignant CEO, former congressman Steve Gunderson (R-WI), and …

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