March 31, 2016
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Department of Education Warns For-Profit College Marketer on Misuse of Logos

The U.S. Department of Education last week sent warning letters to two businesses, demanding that the companies stop using the Department’s official logos, or marks, without authorization. One of them, Arcadia, California-based MC Business Group LLC apparently has been running one of the many operations promising people help with managing their student loans, for a fee, even though, as the Department has been pointing out for some time, such services are available free of charge.

The other company, San Francisco-based Abuv Media, is in a field that has been extensively covered by Republic Report: online lead generators who use questionable tactics to …

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March 28, 2016
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Obama EPA Must Act To Prevent Chemical Plant Catastrophe

Tomorrow I’m scheduled to speak at an EPA public hearing addressing a new rule that the agency has proposed regarding dangers from America’s chemical plants. I will draw my remarks from a formal comment submitted today by: retired Army Lieutenant General Russel Honoré, former commander of Joint Task Force Katrina; retired Army Major General Randy Manner, former acting director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency; and me. (I’m a former staff member of the National Security Council and the Senate Intelligence Committee, and an advisor to Greenpeace on these issues.)  Our written comment is below. Here’s what it’s about:

In 2006, …

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March 25, 2016
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Education Dept To Give Debt Relief To More Corinthian Students

The U.S. Department of Education says that at an event scheduled for today in Boston with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. will announce that students who attended 91 former Corinthian Colleges campuses nationwide between 2010 and 2014 “have a clear path to loan forgiveness under evidence uncovered by the Department while working with multiple state attorneys general.” These students will be able to apply immediately to have their federal direct student loans forgiven because of alleged fraudulent conduct by Corinthian.

The Department’s special master for debt relief issues, Joseph A. Smith, who is also scheduled …

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March 19, 2016
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Another Univ. of California Leader Quits Another For-Profit College Board

Late on Friday, controversial for-profit college company Bridgepoint Education reported in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Marye Anne Fox, Chancellor Emerita and current Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, San Diego, had resigned from the company’s board of directors on Thursday, “effective immediately.” Bridgepoint’s filing says, “Dr. Fox’s decision to resign from the Board was for personal reasons not related to any disagreement with the Company relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices.”

If so, the timing was bad.

On March 1, University of California-Davis’s current chancellor, Linda Katehi, resigned from …

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March 18, 2016
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Strong Mandatory Arbitration Ban on For-Profit Colleges in Peril

Last Friday the Department of Education took a strong stand in favor of banning colleges that receive federal student aid from forcing students to bring disputes with their schools into secret arbitration proceedings, rather than allowing students to go to court.  Today in the middle of the last day of the negotiated rulemaking session on student loan forgiveness, the Department has backed away for now, endorsing the weaker of two options — it would constrain but not end mandatory arbitration.  Public Citizen and Fair Arbitration Now already have explained why the Department has ample legal …

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March 17, 2016
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Top Democratic Lawyer Pushed Pentagon To End U. of Phoenix Suspension

Lawyer Jamie Gorelick, who served in the Bill Clinton Administration as general counsel of the Department of Defense and later as Deputy Attorney General, this year successfully pressed the Pentagon on behalf of the nation’s biggest for-profit college, the University of Phoenix, to lift a suspension of the school for alleged recruiting abuses directed at U.S. military service members.

The University of Phoenix, which has been getting $2 billion to nearly $4 billion a year in taxpayer funds, has a troubling record of spending too little on instruction, charging high prices, and leaving many students worse off than when they …

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March 14, 2016
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VA To Warn Veterans About DeVry

The Department of Veterans Affairs today suspended for-profit DeVry University from the VA’s “Principles of Excellence” status under the GI Bill.  The VA said in a statement that it had taken the action after it had reviewed a recent lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission alleging that DeVry has engaged in deceptive marketing.

In today’s statement and in a letter to DeVry, the VA said it will remove DeVry’s “Principles of Excellence” approval status, which indicates a commitment to protecting students, from the VA’s GI Bill Comparison Tool, and will place a warning flag on all DeVry University campus …Continue Reading »

March 11, 2016
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Dept of Educ Wants To End “Outrageous” Forced Arbitration by For-Profit Colleges

The Department of Education tonight released a new draft of regulations on student debt relief, in advance of the third round of rulemaking meetings to be held next week, and in a press release (see below) accompanying the proposal the Department appears to take a hard line against the fine-print language that for-profit colleges have been using to force students to resolve their disputes with a school through secretive arbitration proceedings, rather than in court.

The draft regulations appear to follow suit, laying out two options regarding mandatory arbitration, including one that requires schools participating in the …

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