March 14, 2014
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Regulating For-Profit Colleges: On To The Next Round

This morning, the Obama Administration released its new proposed “gainful employment” rule, aimed at ending taxpayer support for college programs that claim to train people for careers as medical assistants, air conditioner repair technicians, or software coders, but instead consistently leave their former  students with shaky job prospects and insurmountable debt.

Most of the big for-profit colleges will automatically hate the new rule because, based on their outraged statements in public and private, they apparently believe their industry is entitled to a permanent flow of more than $30 billion annually in federal dollars, regardless of how poorly they are …

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March 7, 2014

CHART: Koch Spends More Than Double Top Ten Unions Combined

The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel either has no understanding of campaign finance, or is willfully misleading her readers. In either case, her column today about the Koch brothers’ political spending — which parrots a meme that has bounced around conservative blogs and websites like a bad chain e-mail — gets the facts about Koch spending versus union spending completely wrong.

In her column, “The Really Big Money? Not the Kochs,” Strassel cites a Center for Responsive Politics list to claim that unions “collectively spent $620,873,623 more than Koch Industries” on political races. Of course, if …

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March 3, 2014
Image: Bob Kerrey

Bob Kerrey To Keynote Meeting of For-Profit Colleges Charged With Abusing Vets

Former U.S. senator Bob Kerrey (D-Nebraska) will give keynote remarks at this spring’s annual convention of the for-profit college trade association, APSCU, in Las Vegas. It’s not really a surprise, since Kerrey recently co-authored a Wall Street Journal op-ed arguing against new federal rules to hold the troubled for-profit college industry accountable. But it’s a shame.

Kerry, a 1992 candidate for president who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for his brave acts as a Navy Seal in Vietnam, has chosen to back an industry that has many big players who are systematically abusing students, notably our …

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February 20, 2014

Palantir Hires Former Congressman to Oversee D.C. Operations, Doesn’t Register Him as a Lobbyist

“The air is fresher outside of Washington,” said Zach Wamp, a Republican politician after he left his seat in Congress. Wamp told reporters that he would not pursue a career in lobbying. Instead, he founded a firm that he said would focus on “business development” in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

But like many other former officials, leaving Washington was easier said than done. In a new investigative piece for The Nation magazine published this morning, I explain how Wamp and many others have engaged in what appears to be lobbying activity without registering as lobbyists. Thousands of individuals in …

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February 14, 2014

How the Manufacturer of Chemical in WV Spill Lobbies to Prevent Regulation

As 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM), a coal-processing chemical, leaked into the Elk River in West Virginia last month, the health effects of the substance were not, and are still not, clear. Both federal and state officials know little about the chemical, even though it has been in use for decades.

And if Eastman Chemical Company, the manufacturer of MCHM, has its way, Americans will be kept in the dark about their product and many other chemicals.

MCHM is one of tens of thousands of chemicals currently on the market that have not undergone health and environmental testing, as

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February 13, 2014

Minn. Court Upholds Big Jury Verdict Against Globe For-Profit College

Last August, a Minnesota jury awarded Heidi Weber, a former dean at for-profit Globe University, $395,000 in damages against the school. Weber alleged that she was fired for complaining that Globe used false job placement statistics and engaged in other misconduct to recruit students. On Tuesday, the trial judge in the case rejected Globe’s motion for a new trial and for a reduction in the damage award — giving Weber an important victory in her legal battle. The court also awarded just over $500,000 in attorney fees, which are provided for under the whistleblower law.

Weber’s suit claimed …

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February 6, 2014

Federal & State Law Enforcement Dramatically Escalate For-Profit College Probes

A year ago, if you were Jack Massimino, CEO of  Corinthian Colleges, you might have been feeling pretty good.  Despite extensive evidence from congressional and media investigations that Corinthian, along with other big for-profit colleges, has been abusing students — luring them with deceptive recruiting, offering high-priced, low quality programs, and often leaving them without jobs and deep in debt — you seemed to be getting away with it.  Almost 90 percent of the revenue for the schools you operated — Everest, Heald and WyoTech colleges – was easy money: federal taxpayer dollars from student grants and loans, about a billion …

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February 4, 2014
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Breaking For-Profit College News: VA Shopping Tool, Coalition Letter, Andrews Quitting

Developments are happening at lightning speed on for-profit college issues.

This morning:

1. The Department of Veterans affairs launched a new website, the GI Bill Comparison Tool, allowing vets, and to some extent other students, to compare college options. The initiative is part of action on President Obama’s 2012 executive order to protect vets and current service members against predatory education practices, an order that the for-profit colleges’ trade association, APSCU, called a “deeply unfortunate development.”  The site is still missing some information as to some colleges, but it has a lot of useful material for prospective students — for-profit colleges are …

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