January 21, 2016
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Blockbuster Lawsuit Claims Abusive Practices Persist at ITT Tech

A federal whistleblower lawsuit against troubled ITT Tech, unsealed last week, reads like a greatest hits of abuses by America’s predatory for-profit colleges.  The suit alleges that ITT has repeatedly defrauded taxpayers by taking billions of dollars in federal student aid while systematically deceiving students and violating federal regulations.

The complaint, first described today by MarketWatch, was filed last April in federal court in Tallahassee, Florida, by Rodney Lipscomb, who served as the dean of academic affairs at ITT’s Tallahassee campus from 2011 until early 2015. The case was unsealed on January 15 after the U.S. Justice Department declined to join …

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January 21, 2016

New Report Reveals Electric Utility Industry’s Influence at Universities

In 1971, Lewis Powell, before becoming a Supreme Court Justice, authored a memo, now known as the Powell Memo, and sent it to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Powell called on corporate America to take an increased role in shaping politics, law, and education. Business leaders, Powell instructed, must marshal their resources to influence institutions that influence public opinion and wield political power – especially at universities. Four decades later, the public can see examples of Powell’s instructions taking hold.

Energy and Policy Institute (EPI) has released a report detailing how several universities and professors, funded by fossil …

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January 14, 2016
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Huge Powerball Jackpot Is Less Than Taxpayers Give Yearly To Controversial For-Profit Colleges

The unprecedented Powerball jackpot is supposed to bestow extraordinary riches upon the long-awaited winners. But did you know that each of the three winners will receive less over a 29-year payout than ten U.S. for-profit college companies receive from your tax dollars every single year?  Worse, seven of those ten colleges have been under investigation in recent years by federal and state law enforcement agencies for deceiving their students, lying to government regulators, and other abuses.

The Powerball jackpot will be divided among three winning tickets bought in Tennessee, California and Florida, and each ticket is worth $528.8 million, paid out in installments until …

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January 13, 2016
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Rohit Chopra Joins Department of Education

Rohit Chopra, whose principled and determined leadership helped make the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a strong force in addressing the abuses of predatory for-profit colleges, has joined the U.S. Department of Education as a senior adviser. Chopra is working directly for Under Secretary Ted Mitchell, focusing on protections for students, analysis of financial capacity and integrity of schools, education benefits for military service members, and openness of Department data, according to Department staff.

Chopra served at the CFPB as assistant director and more recently was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

This article also appears on Huffington Post.

 

 

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January 12, 2016
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CEO of Troubled For-Profit ITT Tech Not Quitting After All

With Donald Graham yielding to his son-in-law the CEO spot at his company, which owns for-profit Kaplan University, and with and the University of Phoenix this week putting itself up for sale, perhaps to private equity investors closely tied to President Obama (see below), where is the stability in the leadership of America’s large predatory for-profit colleges?

On that score, there’s news. You can decide whether the news is good.

On New Year’s Eve, as you were preparing to celebrate with loved ones — and not looking at news — lawyers for for-profit ITT Tech were filing papers with the …

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January 6, 2016
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Ex-Congressman Solicits $80,000 From For-Profit Colleges for Court Paper Aimed At Shielding Fraud

The Republican ex-congressman who now works as the chief lobbyist for the troubled for-profit college industry has ushered in the new year with an email asking for-profit college owners to finance a legal brief aimed at limiting the legal risk of companies in fraud cases.  The amount that Steve Gunderson, CEO of the industry trade group APSCU, says he needs to pay for the single, short brief he proposes to file with the U.S. Supreme Court? $80,000.

The email, obtained by Republic Report, opens with a hearty “Happy New Year!” greeting but then gets down to business, with Gunderson describing what’s at …

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December 14, 2015
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US Fund to Fight Global Climate Change Is Less Than Annual Payout to A Single For-Profit College

Last week, at a critical point in the Paris negotiations on global climate change, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the United States would commit $800 million annually to help developing nations adapt to a warming climate and move to cleaner energy.  $800 million doubled the prior U.S. pledge, and the announcement may have helped seal the deal.

$800 million is a great deal of money. But it is actually less than U.S. taxpayers provided in the past year to each of five major for-profit college companies — all of which have been under investigation in recent years by …

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November 30, 2015
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Congress On Verge of Big Gift to For-Profit College EDMC

After settling multiple law enforcement investigations this month on absurdly favorable terms, troubled for-profit college company Education Management Corp. (EDMC) may be on the verge of getting a sweetheart deal from Congress — a deal that could compound the harms that the company already has caused to students and taxpayers.

A provision in the highway bill conference agreement would amend the federal Trust Indenture Act in a way that could benefit retroactively two corporations that are facing potential bankruptcy — the casino giant Caesars Entertainment Corp. and EDMC, which operates the Art Institutes, Argosy University, Brown Mackie College, and …

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