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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October 20, 2015
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For-Profit College Owner, Who Used Strippers As Lure, Goes On Trial

Alejandro Amor (pictured just above), the former owner-CEO of for-profit FastTrain College, is scheduled to face a jury trial in Miami Wednesday morning. Amor and his co-defendant, former FastTrain admissions staffer Anthony Mincey, face criminal charges of defrauding the federal government to obtain about $6.5 million in student aid — Pell grants and Direct Loans. Two other FastTrain employees charged in the case, Jose Gonzalez and Michael Grubbs, already have pled guilty and are on the government’s witness list.

Amor and FastTrain gained national attention in late 2014 when federal and state prosecutors alleged in court papers that the school “purposely hired …

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October 14, 2015

Purveyors of Wisdom on Higher Ed Panel Have Advanced Harmful For-Profit College Agenda

Today, the day after the New York Times ran a blockbuster front-page lead story describing some of the worst ongoing abuses of big for-profit colleges, one of the nation’s leading higher education philanthropies kicked off a major conference in Washington with a panel giving its place of honor to the retired former chairman of the House of Representatives committee on education, Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA).

It can be said that in Congress, McKeon truly made his mark on higher education. Before his retirement earlier this year, McKeon worked to unshackle the for-profit college industry from sensible safeguards and then to block reforms aimed …

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October 8, 2015
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For-Profit Colleges Enlist Capitol Hill Supplicants, US Chamber In Renewed Push Against Obama Rule

The for-profit college’s trade association, APSCU, was once mighty but is now hobbled, discredited, and depleted. Yet the group, and its industry, still have the money — most it from taxpayer-funded student aid to its schools —  to lobby, give campaign contributions to politicians, and hire lawyers to fight its biggest piece of Kryptonite: the Obama Administration’s “gainful employment” rule. The Department of Education issued this regulation earlier this year, and it is scheduled to go into effect at a still-undetermined time.

APSCU challenged the rule in federal district court, but Judge John D. Bates, a George …

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September 23, 2015
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For-Profit College Lobbyist Explains Decades of Fraud as Humanitarian Mission

A Politico profile of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan quotes just two commenters regarding the Obama Administration’s effort to curb abuses by for-profit colleges, and both of them have been long-time lobbyists for the industry: bulldog lawyer Lanny Davis and former congressman Steve Gunderson (R-WI), who heads the industry’s main trade group, APSCU.  Only Duncan is quoted defending Duncan, but the two lobbyists are given ample space to offer some of the most self-serving and misleading accounts imaginable about the controversy.

Gunderson, according to the piece, “admits [for-profit colleges] enrolled too many unqualified applicants who ended up defaulting on federal loans.” …

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July 15, 2015
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APSCU Letter To For-Profit Colleges: Our New Direction

Former congressman Steve Gunderson (R-WI), president of the for-profit colleges’ main trade association, APSCU, this morning sent a dramatically-worded letter to APSCU members announcing organizational changes that “have the potential to create a new beginning for the sector and the association.”  In the circumstances, his words were reminiscent of Spinal Tap’s David St. Hubbins, who boldly told a sparse amusement park crowd, “Hope you enjoy our new direction.”

As Republic Report reported first yesterday, for-profit giants DeVry and Kaplan left APSCU last month, following the departures in the past year of ITT Tech, EDMC, and now-shuttered Corinthian. As …

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July 14, 2015
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Big For-Profit Colleges Quit Trade Group APSCU

Some of the largest for-profit college companies — including, last month, DeVry and Kaplan — have recently left the industry’s main trade group, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU). The defections have come amid a rapid decline in the reputations and fortunes of many for-profit colleges — and the apparent failure of the D.C.-based trade association’s strategy to protect the industry, which in recent years received as much as $33 billion in federal aid.

Some of the companies that have left APSCU face mounting federal and state law enforcement investigations for fraud and other misconduct. Some have seen …

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May 26, 2015
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Corinthian CEO Led For-Profit College Industry PAC

An email newsletter obtained by Republic Report reveals that the political action committee of APSCU, the main lobbying group of for-profit colleges, was headed in 2012 by Jack Massimino, CEO of the now disgraced, bankrupt Corinthian Colleges. The newsletter also highlights the active involvement in APSCUPAC of other for-profit college executives whose companies are now under investigation — or have been penalized or shut down — by law enforcement.

The involvement of these executives and other information exposed in the newsletter add to the long list of reasons to doubt the credibility of APSCU, the prime mover of efforts to rid for-profit colleges …

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