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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January 30, 2014

Feds Launch Online Complaint Portal for Vets Abused By For-Profit Colleges

Federal agencies have this morning launched a new online complaint system where veterans, service members, and their families can report on problems with colleges and universities receiving federal education aid. As numerous investigations have revealed and President Obama has noted, for-profit colleges have engaged in widespread abuses of vets and military families. The new complaint system follows from the President’s April 2012 executive order requiring stronger protections for veterans against deceptive recruiting and other misconduct by educational institutions.  The Departments of Education and Justice, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Federal Trade Commission are all part of the …

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January 27, 2014

State Attorneys General Open Major Investigations of Big For-Profit Colleges

In tomorrow’s State of the Union address, President Obama will likely revisit his plans to hold America’s colleges and universities more accountable for helping U.S. students train for real careers.  But while a stalemated Congress still blocks progress in many areas, a bipartisan group of state attorneys general just took a major step to help college students, especially veterans, single parents, and others struggling to support their families.

The house of cards built by the worst-performing higher education sector — predatory for-profit colleges — may at last be in peril of collapsing.  In the past few days, four of the …

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January 14, 2014

President Obama’s Chemical Safety Panel Must Heed Senator Obama’s Warnings

In the wake of the April 2103 West, Texas, chemical plant explosion, which killed 15 people and injured 160 more, President Obama issued an executive order directing federal agencies to improve the safety of our industrial chemical plants.  Right now, a working group of federal officials is conducting “listening sessions” around the country to hear from the public on these issues. I spoke at one of these meetings in Washington DC today, before a panel chaired by David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA). Here’s what I said:

Members of the Working Group, …

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December 13, 2013

Obama Team Must Be Fair, but Tough, on For-Profit Colleges

This morning the U.S. Department of Education convenes what may finally be the last session of its negotiated rulemaking on a proposed “gainful employment” rule, a measure aimed at cutting off federal aid to career college programs that fail to train students to earn a decent living.  The latest draft regulation from the Department would be a step in the right direction as compared with the status quo, but as the New America Foundation’s Ben Miller shows, it’s somewhat weaker than the previous draft, in terms of holding predatory career colleges accountable for programs that leave students with …

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December 9, 2013
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For-profit college group, linked to ALEC, keeps working to harm students and taxpayers

It’s a busy time for APSCU, the trade association of America’s for-profit colleges.  The group spends its time trying to block reasonable measures to hold the worst actors in its industry responsible for their systematic abuses of students and taxpayers, as if the industry is permanently entitled to the enormous amounts of federal taxpayer money — $33 billion in a recent year — that it receives. And the industry is under siege, now that media and government investigations have exposed that many for-profit colleges offer a toxic mix of deceptive recruiting, high prices, low quality instruction, and poor …

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