June 21, 2016

Friends In High Places: Who Endorses America’s Troubled For-Profit Colleges?



Today Republic Report is releasing a brand-new investigative report: Friends In High Places: Who Endorses America’s Troubled For-Profit Colleges? 

Our report describes in detail the network of prominent Americans — lawyers, lobbyists, board members, university presidents, politicians, celebrities, and others — who continue to lend their credibility and talents to defending or promoting seven of America’s biggest for-profit college companies, amid growing indications, including law enforcement investigations, that these companies have engaged in predatory practices that harm students and taxpayers.

You can read and download the report here (pdf).  Or read it all below.

UPDATE …Continue Reading »

May 2, 2016
Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 6.01.02 PM

Ellen DeGeneres Shills For For-Profit College Facing Law Enforcement Probes

Today on her television show, in honor of the upcoming Mother’s Day, Ellen DeGeneres gave a $25,000 college scholarship to Courtney, an Oklahoma stay-at-home mom who wants to be an ultrasound technician.  That’s fantastic.

Except that the scholarship is to attend the for-profit University of Phoenix, which even with a $25,000 scholarship could turn out to be a bad deal for Courtney.  The University of Phoenix is currently the subject of investigations by multiple federal and state law enforcement agencies. And Department of Education data has shown that the University of Phoenix’s graduation rate for first-time, full-time …

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September 23, 2015

For-Profit College Lobbyist Explains Decades of Fraud as Humanitarian Mission

A Politico profile of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan quotes just two commenters regarding the Obama Administration’s effort to curb abuses by for-profit colleges, and both of them have been long-time lobbyists for the industry: bulldog lawyer Lanny Davis and former congressman Steve Gunderson (R-WI), who heads the industry’s main trade group, APSCU.  Only Duncan is quoted defending Duncan, but the two lobbyists are given ample space to offer some of the most self-serving and misleading accounts imaginable about the controversy.

Gunderson, according to the piece, “admits [for-profit colleges] enrolled too many unqualified applicants who ended up defaulting on federal loans.” …

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May 29, 2015
Donald Graham

Scholarship Started by Donald Graham Sends Donor Money To Graham’s For-Profit College

The New York Post today reports on an astounding fact that has been in plain sight for more than a year: Washington business scion Donald Graham has co-founded a scholarship program for young immigrants that is sending some of its students, and donor dollars, to colleges owned by Donald Graham’s own for-profit company.

When I read this fact in February 2014 in the Washington Post, the newspaper formerly owned by Graham’s company, I was taken aback. It seemed like a clear conflict of interest. But then, there have been many troubling actions by the for-profit college industry, including by Graham Holdings’ for-profit college …

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January 20, 2015

NPR Reporter on Featuring Climate Change Denier Front Groups: ‘Journalists Just Love a Fight’

Merchants of Doubt, a new film by Robert Kenner, explores the history of paid “third party” front groups, designed to appear as legitimate scientific or academic organizations, that act to mislead the public on policy issues on behalf of their corporate benefactors. The film goes through the history of groups that were paid to raise doubts about the health risks of cigarette smoking on behalf of tobacco firms to the modern climate change denial network spawned by fossil fuel interests.

At a special screening of the movie in Washington, D.C., NPR’s science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel and Kenner participated in a …

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January 14, 2015

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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November 12, 2014
Peabody CEO Gregory Boyce
Peabody CEO Gregory Boyce

Peabody Energy CEO: Burning ‘Dung’ Real Environmental Issue, Not Coal

Another CNBC interview, another slow pitch interview for a fossil fuel executive.

Not too long ago, Republic Report caught a CNBC producer soliciting climate change denier pundits to “balance” a report about the costs of inaction on carbon emissions. Last weekend, CNBC brought on Gregory Boyce, Peabody Energy’s chief executive, to uncritically discuss how his coal company is attempting to airbrush the image of coal.

“People have this stigma that coal is the dirtiest form of electricity,” said the CNBC reporter. “How do you battle against that stigma?”

That “stigma” is based on reality. Coal-fired power plants are the largest contributors to …

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September 17, 2014

VIDEO: With Senator Warren Watching, Suze Orman Denies, Admits, Rationalizes Teaching at University of Phoenix

At an event in Washington DC this morning, speaking alongside Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), financial guru Suze Orman at first seemed to deny what is a documented fact: that she teaches a personal finance course at the nation’s biggest for-profit college, the University of Phoenix.  Then Orman admitted it, but offered a wholly unconvincing explanation.

The event, hosted by Politico and sponsored by Starbucks, addressed the issue of educational opportunity and student debt, issues on which Senator Warren has been a leader. Having read a tweet I sent yesterday, Politico reporter Allie Grasgreen asked Orman a highly relevant question:

Q: Suze, are …

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