April 5, 2015
Benjaminflo

Student Debt Strike? Read This Texas Mom’s Powerful Words

The 100-plus former students of for-profit Corinthian Colleges who have boldly asserted that they won’t pay back their student loans have garnered widespread attention and provided a powerful jolt to the debates about predatory colleges and our nation’s mounting student debt. A measure of the students’ impact is the meeting they were able to obtain last week to make their case to top officials of the U.S. Department of Education.

I hope these officials will listen — and act boldly themselves. The clock is running out on the Obama Administration’s efforts to curb the abuses of for-profit colleges, and while …

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March 23, 2015
west-TX-explosion

Leaders Tell Obama: Time Running Out On Preventing Chemical Disasters

Late last week, hundreds of organizations and people sent a letter to President Obama warning that his administration is running of time to act on an issue long-identified by the President as essential to our national security and public safety: protecting our people from the dangers of accidents or deliberate attacks at U.S. chemical plants.

I signed this letter, along with leaders including retired Army General Russel Honore, the commander of Task Force Katrina, and 9-11 widow Kristen Breitweiser, and organizations including the Environmental Justice Health Alliance, United Steelworkers, Sierra Club, and Greenpeace.

I have been involved in the effort to get …

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March 12, 2015

VIDEO – Durbin: Corinthian Buyer ECMC Is Breaking Its Promises

In a floor speech today, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said he was “troubled” that ECMC, the debt collection company that has acquired more than 50 campuses of collapsing for-profit college chain Corinthian, is “already, just weeks into owning and operating these schools, failing to live up to the promises they made to the students and to me.” Durbin said that ECMC’s CEO, Dave Hawn, had indicated that he had listened to the concerns of Durbin and others and agreed to drop a policy forcing students to give up their right to bring grievances with the school to court. But Hawn did not tell Durbin …

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March 12, 2015
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What Law Students — and Everyone — Should Know About For-Profit Colleges

This article originally appeared in the Harvard Law Record, a student-run publication. It also appears on Huffington Post

I’m a Washington DC lawyer and policy advocate, and I spend a couple days a week trying to expose and end the abuses of a particularly bad industry: predatory for-profit colleges. I am regularly contacted by industry employees who no longer can live with being part of an immoral enterprise:

• The marketer at a Utah “lead generation” company who is assigned to placing fake ads for non-existent jobs on the Internet, aimed at luring unemployed people to provide their …

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February 13, 2015
everest

Misleading Assurances in the Corinthian-ECMC Deal

Student loan debt collection company ECMC has just begun its takeover of 56 campuses of the failed, predatory for-profit Corinthian Colleges. But already, assurances from both federal government officials and ECMC itself regarding protections for students in the deal appear to have been highly misleading. A brand-new Everest College enrollment agreement, seen by Republic Report, combined with other information, suggests that the deal is worse for students than has been promised.

A striking example is a provision of this new enrollment agreement document, which is presented under the header “Everest College, An affiliate of Zenith Education Group, Inc.” Zenith is the new non-profit …

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January 14, 2015
quadIHE

For-Profit College Investor Now Owns Controlling Share of Leading Education Trade Publication

Quad Partners, a New York private equity firm that is invested heavily in the for-profit college industry, and whose founder has aggressively opposed regulation of that troubled industry, has acquired a controlling stake in the respected trade publication Inside Higher Ed (IHE), which often reports on for-profit colleges and the policy disputes surrounding them. There has been no public announcement, but the Quad Partners website now lists Inside Higher Ed as one of its investments, among a range of education-related companies, including for-profit trade schools Beckfield College, Blue Cliff College, Dorsey Schools, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and Marinello Schools of Beauty.

Doug Lederman, one …

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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 15, 2014
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Shell Warns Oil Industry May Join Big Coal’s War on EPA to Prevent ‘Precedent’ of Carbon Regulation

Expect much of the fossil fuel industry to oppose the upcoming Environmental Protection Act rules governing carbon emissions from power plants, says a senior executive from Shell Oil. Though the agency’s new Clean Power Plan impacts existing coal-fire power plants, the Shell spokesperson suggested that the oil and gas industry may lobby to block the regulation to prevent the “precedent” of wide-ranging regulations on other carbon polluters.

“In my sector, the oil and gas sector, they view coal first, and oil and gas next. So when they saw what producers have called the ‘War on Coal,’ and they felt that if the administration is …

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