May 2, 2016
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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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May 2, 2016

Education Dept., Getting Fed Up, Links For-Profit College To “Grifters”

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Education took the rare step of cutting off federal student aid to two for-profit college chains, each accused of deceiving the Department and their own students. Now the Department has denied an appeal by one of the schools, Computer Systems Institute (CSI!), and done so with a bit more, shall we say, emphasis than usual. Just for example, the Department uses a term not often applied in higher education in referring to two individuals whom CSI claimed were major employers of its students; the Department calls them “grifters.”

It’s one more sign that …

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April 29, 2016

FTC Takes Action Against Florida For-Profit College Marketer

The Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday its first settlement with an education lead generation company, Orlando-based Expand, Inc., and its owner, Ayman “Alec” El-Difrawi, for alleged deceptive practices. The FTC contends that Expand, which operates under the names Gigats, EducationMatch and SoftRock, has been claiming to visitors to its websites that it is “pre-screening” job applicants, when in fact it is gathering personal information for other purposes, including selling it to for-profit colleges that are seeking new students.

Expand’s websites aggregated some job listings from the Internet, but, according to the FTC, many were stale or had no official connection to Expand, and Expand …

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April 28, 2016
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Case Builds Against For-Profit Colleges Denying Students Legal Rights

In recent months, leading Members of Congress, state attorneys general, and non-profit groups have called on the Department of Education to stop colleges that receive federal student aid from forcing students to resolve disputes with their schools in secret arbitration proceedings. (I’ve been active in this advocacy effort.)  After decades of neglecting this issue, the Department of Education appears ready to take steps to protect the right of students to bring their grievances to court.

But the Department has wavered between approaches: fully banning mandatory arbitration clauses or, instead, issuing only a limited ban.

Nothing that advocates have …

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April 19, 2016

Troubled For-Profit Colleges ‘Eager to Assist’-Enroll-Students of Shut-Down School

The headline of a Kansas City Star article posted today reads, “Some private for-profit schools come to the aid of former Wright Career College students; Vatterott Educational Centers, Brown Mackie College and National American University offer assistance.”

The article includes this passage:

One of the schools reaching out to Wright students is St. Louis-based Vatterott Educational Centers. It said it will consider credit transfers for former Wright students in five markets — the Kansas City area, Wichita, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Omaha.

“We are saddened to see the impact of Wright Career College’s closure on its students,” Rene Crosswhite, Vatterott’s chief …

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April 17, 2016

Departure of Head of College Accrediting Group Won’t Fix the Problem


I’ve received information that Albert C. Gray, who has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of the controversial accrediting body the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), may be leaving that organization.

Sunday afternoon I emailed Anthony Bieda, ACICS’s Vice President of External Affairs, asking him about this information — that his group’s CEO would no longer be CEO. Bieda replied: “No comment, on behalf of the Board of ACICS.”

UPDATE 04-18-16 9:30 am: This morning, Albert Gray’s name no longer appears on the ACICS website staff page. Anthony Bieda’s title has been changed to “Executive in …

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April 4, 2016

Massachusetts Sues ITT Tech For Misleading and Harassing Students

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has sued troubled for-profit college giant ITT Tech for alleged deceptive practices and abuses of students in the state. Healey filed the suit last Thursday in Norfolk, MA, Superior Court, and her office disclosed the action in a press release today, which says that ITT, from 2010 to 2013, was at its Norwood and Wilmington, MA, locations “engaging in unfair and harassing sales tactics and misleading students about the quality of its Computer Network Systems program, and the success of the program’s graduates in finding jobs.”

The complaint asserts …Continue Reading »

April 1, 2016

For-Profit College Trade Group Responds to Obama Reforms With Tantrum

I was just alerted to this gem of a tantrum / press release issued two weeks ago by the for-profit college trade association APSCU, whose strategy of aggressive, expensive lobbying and litigation has utterly failed, and which now has lost much of its funding. Having harbored as members now disgraced and shut-down schools like Corinthian, ATI, and FastTrain, and having been dominated by and having now lost as members troubled industry giants like EDMC, ITT, Kaplan, Career Education Corp., and Bridgepoint, APSCU is down to its indignant CEO, former congressman Steve Gunderson (R-WI), and …

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