January 23, 2015
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Inside the ECMC-Corinthian Deal: Will Students Be Protected?

The U.S. Department of Education’s ill-advised effort to broker the sale of 56 campuses of the discredited Corinthian for-profit college chain to ECMC, a student debt collection operation, has hit some snags. The transfer of campuses to ECMC has been delayed nearly a month, to February 2, in part because various state regulators need to give approval, and even then there will be campuses not ready to be shifted until some unspecified later time. But new information obtained by Republic Report suggests once again how challenging it would be to successfully run Corinthian for any new management, and particularly ECMC, which …

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January 14, 2015
quadIHE

For-Profit College Investor Now Owns Controlling Share of Leading Education Trade Publication

Quad Partners, a New York private equity firm that is invested heavily in the for-profit college industry, and whose founder has aggressively opposed regulation of that troubled industry, has acquired a controlling stake in the respected trade publication Inside Higher Ed (IHE), which often reports on for-profit colleges and the policy disputes surrounding them. There has been no public announcement, but the Quad Partners website now lists Inside Higher Ed as one of its investments, among a range of education-related companies, including for-profit trade schools Beckfield College, Blue Cliff College, Dorsey Schools, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and Marinello Schools of Beauty.

Doug Lederman, one …

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December 17, 2014
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Declaring Corinthian Colleges Too Big To Fail: A Terrible Idea

The U.S. Department of Education has blessed a deal under which a non-profit student debt collection company, Minnesota-based Education Credit Management Corporation (ECMC), will pay $24 million to acquire 56 campuses, operating under the brands Everest and WyoTech, owned by collapsing Corinthian Colleges, one of the most abusive and deceptive for-profit college companies. The terms of this deal are extraordinarily unfavorable to students.  The agreement creates a remarkable conflict of interest for the Department itself, and it sets terrible precedents for future failing colleges.

The deal is so bad that it seems that the Department is determined to prop …

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December 4, 2014
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Neutron CEO Tells Customers That Republic Report Stories Are False; Ex-Employees Disagree

While one for-profit college in Miami, called FastTrain, has just been sued by law enforcement for, among other things, allegedly hiring scantily-clad women to lure men to its admissions office (an allegation noted by Republic Report back in May 2012), another group of operators in Salt Lake City has been using a different scam — phony bait-and-switch websites — to entice low-income Americans into high-priced, poor-quality career college programs. Republic Report has been exposing these operations for the past few weeks, and one of the companies named is now responding.

Republic Report has obtained a letter from Neutron Interactive CEO Dan Caffee, …

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November 24, 2014
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For-Profit College Marketer Thrived By Posting Fake Ads To Popular Job Sites

 

Neutron Interactive, a Salt Lake City-based business, regularly posted fake job listings on popular job websites including Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com for the purpose of tricking job-seekers into visiting its own websites, according to former Neutron employees. These Neutron Interactive websites, still operating today, also promise jobs, but in reality they usually offer none; their real purpose, say these former employees, is to convince visitors — low-income people, single mothers, veterans, the elderly, all in desperate need of jobs — to provide their cell phone numbers, so marketers at other companies, which pay Neutron for the leads, can sell them overpriced for-profit college programs.

Neutron Interactive’s Continue Reading »

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November 13, 2014
SNAP

Still More Scam For-Profit College Websites – Linked to Dallas Mystery Man

I reported yesterday and this morning on scam websites that promise people help with jobs, food stamps, heat assistance, Medicaid — things that low-income and working Americans want — but the sites are really just fronts to get people’s phone numbers, so workers at a call center in Utah can pitch them on enrolling in overpriced, low-quality for-profit colleges.

Within 90 minutes after I posted my story yesterday, one of the sites I discussed, localemploymentnetwork.org, had been shut down. Perhaps just caution by its operators, or perhaps some concern about suggestions I made that the site’s owner, Neutron Interactive, and the …

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November 13, 2014
MedCareer1

More Scam Websites to Lure the Poor to For-Profit Colleges

Yesterday I reported on how a Utah-based company, Neutron Interactive, operated a website that promised jobs but was in reality a scam — it seemed to function mainly to send customer leads to at least one other company’s Salt Lake City call center, called EdSoup, whose only purpose, in turn, is to recruit people, mostly low-income people, to high-priced training programs at for-profit colleges. Similar sites promise food stamps, Medicaid, and heating assistance, but all lead to more pitches to sign up for expensive programs at the University of Phoenix, Brown Mackie, Colorado Tech, Kaplan, and other for-profits.  EdSoup …

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November 12, 2014
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Scam: Websites Promising Jobs And Medicaid Are Instead Bait for For-Profit College Telemarketers

A network of U.S. marketing companies run glossy websites promising jobs, health benefits, food stamps, and heating assistance, sites with names like localemploymentnetwork.org or medicaidinsurancebenefits.com. But according to former employees of a company connected to these operations, the real purpose of these sites is a classic bait-and-switch: to get low-income people, single mothers, veterans, and unemployed older people on the telephone and push them into high-cost for-profit college programs.

Based on the accounts of these employees, and documents they have provided to Republic Report, the operations may well be in violation of federal statutes prohibiting deceptive marketing and unwanted telephone sales calls, as well as Department of …

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