June 8, 2016
debtcollective

Why We Need A Strong Student Debt Relief Rule

The Obama Administration is on the verge of issuing a proposed rule that would create new procedures and standards for cancelling the federal student loan debt of people who were defrauded by their colleges. The rule would also create new standards for the Department of Education to require colleges to post escalating letters of credit based on concerns about their operations. And it would ban or limit the ability of a college receiving federal aid to force students to resolve claims in private, secret arbitrations, rather than in court.

There were several months of public negotiations on a rule

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June 5, 2016
rosen-shingle-creek

For-Profit College Industry, In Freefall, Convenes in Florida

Today, the troubled for-profit college industry’s troubled trade association, APSCU, begins its four-day annual convention, at the Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando FL. Unlike past years, there is no big name keynote speaker, no George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, or Newt Gingrich, and no dance party with a semi-faux version of the Beach Boys or Kool and the Gang. The optics are more stripped down, and the mood, judging by the conference agenda, is more downbeat.

APSCU has waged a long campaign against efforts by the Obama Administration to hold its member schools accountable for waste, …

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May 31, 2016
Donald Graham

Kaplan’s Graham Lobbies White House Against Debt Relief for Defrauded Students

Donald Graham, who turned his family company from the fabled owners of the Washington Post newspaper into the purveyors of the predatory for-profit college Kaplan University, met twice late this month with senior White House officials. Graham’s aim, as documents he left behind and were posted by the Office of Management and Budget indicate: to derail the Department of Education’s plans for a new rule giving debt relief to students defrauded by their schools.

On May 25, according to OMB records, Graham, the head of his Kaplan division Andrew Rosen, and Kaplan lobbyist Rebecca Campoverde, met with some senior officials of …

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May 27, 2016
everest-college-you-can-do-it-large-1

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
Manchin

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
University-Of-Phoenix

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
Christie-Whitman

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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