April 14, 2015

VIDEO: In Iowa, Clinton Stresses Harms to Students From Predatory For-Profit Colleges

In keeping with the strong populist economics theme of her campaign rollout, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton today took aim at the predatory for-profit colleges whose overpriced, low-quality programs are ruining students’ lives. The former Secretary of State, participating in her first campaign event, an education roundtable discussion at Kirkwood Community College in Monticello, Iowa, said:

Some of the for-profit schools, some of the scandals that have arisen in these places where they take all this money and put all these young people and their families into debt. Even if they graduate they don’t have credentials that are going to get …

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June 27, 2013
Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 12.03.00 PM

Buzzfeed Infographic Is Devious Tool of For-Profit College Marketer

The Internet loves infographics. So websites seeking clicks are always looking to run infographics, and marketers are always seeking to supply websites with infographics — infographics that steer people to their products.

Yesterday, super-popular website Buzzfeed allowed one of its contributors to post an infographic sharply criticizing for-profit colleges — as a sector run by “fat cats”; a sector that spends most of its money on executive salaries, profits, and marketing, and very little money on students; a sector that charges much higher prices than traditional colleges; a sector that leaves a high percentage of students deep in …

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May 30, 2013

What I Just Told the Obama Administration About For-Profit Colleges

The U.S. Department of Education is now engaged in a series of public hearings on higher education issues, including reforms to curb the abuses of predatory for-profit colleges. It is also accepting written comments from the public.  I attended the opening hearing last week in Washington, DC, and I tweeted (May 21) about the powerful presentations of reform advocates and the stonewalling strategy of for-profit colleges.  For several years I have been in touch with numerous former students and staff of for-profit colleges. Some have filed with the Department harrowing accounts of deceptive and abusive practices by these …

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November 27, 2012

For-Profit College Industry’s Phony Pitch to Obama: Now We’re BFFs!

The controversial for-profit college industry, threatened by the Obama’s Administration’s efforts to hold it accountable for a torrent of waste, fraud, and abuse at the expense of students and taxpayers, bet heavily on a Romney and GOP victory in 2012.  The industry, which gets $32 billion a year from taxpayers and whose biggest players get 86 percent of their revenues from federal funds, gave millions of that money to Republican candidates and Super PACs. This was on top of the tens of millions the industry has spent on lobbying, lawyering, and advertising to defeat the Obama reforms.

So, having bet …

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November 14, 2012
On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney praised overpriced for-profit colleges and promised to protect them from accountability. But he lost.

Without Romney To Shield Them, For-Profit Colleges Must Face Reality

Since last week’s election, the Fox News Channel has featured several corporate executives complaining about the results. But it’s likely that few are as upset as CEOs of the troubled for-profit college industry. This sector, which is deeply dependent on the federal government, bet heavily on a Republican victory.

Mitt Romney, who has a financial stake in the industry, went out of his way to praise for-profit colleges, and he pledged to undo Obama reforms aimed at holding these companies accountable for fraudulent practices and poor quality schools. Sparked by Romney’s apparent eagerness to let them off the …

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November 1, 2012
Todd Nelson, who has run both of America's two largest for-profit colleges, backs Mitt Romney.

Controversial For-Profit College Industry Using Your Tax Dollars To Support Romney Victory

Todd Nelson resigned as chief executive of Apollo Group, parent company of the University of Phoenix, in 2006, in the wake of two controversies that ended up in court.  In the first case, Apollo, the nation’s largest for-profit college business, paid $9.8 million in 2004 to settle a U.S. Department of Education complaint that it had engaged in systematic violations of rules regulating aggressive recruiting of students.  The second, less well known, was a case brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), several months after Nelson left, charging that for years the University of Phoenix had discriminated against  employees …

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October 15, 2012

Beneath the Etch a Sketch: 5 Signs That Romney’s Real Ideology is Crony Capitalism

Is Mitt Romney “severely conservative,” as he put it during the primary season, or is he instead the semi-compassionate moderate he has portrayed since the first debate? It’s the question pundits keep asking, and of course it’s important to his political strategy and the outcome of the election. But to understand how Romney would actually govern as president, this dichotomy obscures a critical point.

If you look beyond Romney’s stump remarks — dig beneath the Etch A Sketch — to the structure of his campaign and the details of his policy proposals, it appears that Romney’s true ideology is not small-government conservatism, or …

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September 24, 2012
Professor Lorna Hernandez is, as of last Thursday, free of the for-profit Art Institutes and her faculty number there, 13124. Photo illustration: Lorna Hernandez.

EDMC Professors and Students Speak: How Lobbyists & Goldman Sachs Ruined For-Profit Education

Lorna Hernandez taught graphic design and animation for eighteen years at a for-profit college, The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, until she quit, last Thursday.

Unlike some of her faculty colleagues, Hernandez, chair of the school’s animation department, was not laid off in last month’s major downsizing by Pittsburgh-based Education Management Corp. (EDMC), the publicly-traded corporation that owns her school. But Hernandez says she “saw the writing on the wall”: She believed more firings were ahead, and the school’s quality standards, in her view, were rapidly declining.

For the past couple of years I’ve been puzzled by the Art Institutes.

On the one …

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