June 5, 2016
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For-Profit College Industry, In Freefall, Convenes in Florida

Today, the troubled for-profit college industry’s troubled trade association, APSCU, begins its four-day annual convention, at the Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando FL. Unlike past years, there is no big name keynote speaker, no George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, or Newt Gingrich, and no dance party with a semi-faux version of the Beach Boys or Kool and the Gang. The optics are more stripped down, and the mood, judging by the conference agenda, is more downbeat.

APSCU has waged a long campaign against efforts by the Obama Administration to hold its member schools accountable for waste, …

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June 1, 2016
trump

Trump University: A Scam, But a Familiar One

Four hundred pages of documents released on Tuesday by a federal judge in San Diego add detail to the tawdry story of Donald Trump’s unaccredited Trump University. The operation appears to have relied on high-pressure recruiting pitches, buoyed by deceptive claims, and it had an extensive playbook focused not on teaching students the art of the real estate deal but instead on teaching company recruiters how to separate enrollees from more and more of their money.

The playbook directed Trump University recruiters to push students into paying higher prices for escalating levels of involvement, with the most expensive “Gold Elite” package, priced at $34,995, the …

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May 31, 2016
Donald Graham

Kaplan’s Graham Lobbies White House Against Debt Relief for Defrauded Students

Donald Graham, who turned his family company from the fabled owners of the Washington Post newspaper into the purveyors of the predatory for-profit college Kaplan University, met twice late this month with senior White House officials. Graham’s aim, as documents he left behind and were posted by the Office of Management and Budget indicate: to derail the Department of Education’s plans for a new rule giving debt relief to students defrauded by their schools.

On May 25, according to OMB records, Graham, the head of his Kaplan division Andrew Rosen, and Kaplan lobbyist Rebecca Campoverde, met with some senior officials of …

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May 28, 2016
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A Dubious Benefit: Big Employers Steer Workers to Troubled For-Profit Colleges

American Airlines tells its workers that one of the employee benefits for which they are eligible is “career development training,” and an internal employee benefits web page lists American’s “learning partners and other sources for tuition discounts, waived enrollment fees and education grants to help you further develop your professional skills.” The schools listed by the company as providing benefits for its thousands of employees — managers, pilots, flight attendants, reservations agents, and others — are for-profit colleges DeVry, the University of Phoenix,

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May 27, 2016
everest-college-you-can-do-it-large-1

New Law Firm Monitor for Zenith: Like the Old One, It Represented Corinthian

 

The U.S. Department of Education announced today it has “accepted” the law firm Squire Patton Boggs as the new “independent monitor” for Zenith Education Group. Zenith is a division of the non-profit debt collection company ECMC, which, with Department approval, last year took over many Everest College and WyoTech campuses of the now-defunct, notoriously predatory for-profit Corinthian Colleges.

The Department told the Associated Press today that it picked the firm from among seven candidates proposed by Zenith.

A partner at the firm, Clark Kent Ervin, is slated, according to the Department, to …

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May 25, 2016
Manchin

Veterans Groups Oppose Manchin Amendment Giving For-Profit Colleges Unfettered Access to Military Bases

Just as America’s veterans organization are coming together to demand better government protection against deceptive and abusive practices by for-profit colleges, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) seems to want to move in the opposite direction, pushing an amendment that would require the Pentagon to allow any college approved for military tuition benefits to have unrestricted access to recruit on military bases.  Veterans and military groups, as well as other Senators, are now working to stop this Manchin amendment.

Senator Manchin’s amendment might please, among others, a for-profit college headquartered in his home state, American Public University System (APUS), which runs the …

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May 24, 2016
Lott APSCU

The Perfect Lobby: How One Industry Captured Washington, DC

This article, which originally was published (April 3, 2014) in The Nation, is adapted from David Halperin’s e-book, Stealing America’s Future: How For-Profit Colleges Scam Taxpayers and Ruin Students’ Lives, available at Amazon.

Many of America’s for-profit colleges have proven themselves a bad deal for the students lured by their enticing promises—as well as for US taxpayers, who subsidize these institutions with ten of billions annually in federal student aid.

More than half of the students who enroll in for-profit colleges—many of them veterans, single mothers and other low- and middle-income people aiming for jobs like medical technician, diesel mechanic or …

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May 19, 2016
University-Of-Phoenix

University of Phoenix Won’t Force Students to Arbitrate Claims; Scope Unclear

The University of Phoenix just announced that it will no longer require students to agree when enrolling to give up their rights to pursue in court any disputes with the school. Many for-profit colleges have used such fine-print clauses to force any complaint into secret arbitration proceedings that tend to be stacked against students and keep school abuses from coming to light.

The Department of Education is currently considering issuing new regulations that would prohibit or limit the ability of colleges receiving federal aid from imposing such mandatory arbitration clauses. (I am working with our coalition of pro-student …

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