July 31, 2012

For-Profit College Recruiter: Goal Was To “Demoralize Potential Applicants” And Get “Asses In Classes”

Yesterday at Sen. Tom Harkin’s press conference on the release of his new report on the predatory nature of the for-profit college industry, one of the most illuminating testimonies came not from the senator or his colleagues, but from a former active and knowing participant in the abusive system. Laura Brozek worked for ITT Technical Institute for over seven years as a recruiter in southern California. She started as an entry-level recruiter, enticing prospective students, including parolees and those with felony records who were interested in criminal justice jobs they likely could never obtain, to enroll at the school with promises of future success in high-paying jobs.

Brozek described how she easily climbed the corporate ladder at ITT Tech, eventually becoming promoted to director of recruitment in her region.   She and her colleagues who met their goals — measured primarily on the number of students enrolled or “asses in classes” and “kiss ’em and sit ’em,” according to Brozek — were rewarded with salary increases. Those who failed to meet their goals were demoted and sometimes even terminated.

That wasn’t Brozek’s problem. She was really good at recruiting, receiving awards and accolades, thanks to mastering recruitment techniques including the “pain funnel.” The pain funnel was used to “demoralize potential applicants by discussing their life’s shortcomings in order to have them enroll, where their life would improve.” Such techniques are both “predatory” and “very successful,” she said. Students would enroll with the “expectation that if they spend enough money, whether through savings or students loans, their problems would be solved,” Brozek said. “For a large percentage of students who enrolled, this was simply not the case.”

She and other recruiters skimmed over statistics on poor retention and job placement rates for ITT Tech graduates, instead emphasizing  potential success.

Brozek no longer works at ITT Tech. Her story is an important reminder that for-profit school aren’t simply using taxpayer dollars to make profit with little oversight or accountability — they’re making that profit by knowingly hurting vulnerable members of society — disadvantaged or minority young people, veterans, immigrants, and former prisoners.

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  • CatKinNY

    While this will surprise absolutely no one, it’s always very helpful to have an insider spell out, in detail, exactly how the fraud and theft occured.

    • Interested

      The actions this woman admits to are severe violations of the ethics and compliance policies that all ITT recruitment employees are responsible for following, as a condition of maintaining their employment with ITT Technical Institute. Each employee is charged with the obligation to perform his/her duties in an extremely ethical fashion or he/she will be fired.
      If Senator Harkin believes that this behavior is typical of employees at ITT Technical Institute, then someone needs to make him aware that this former employee has succeeded in pulling the wool over his eyes, in trying to make herself look good, in the face of her unlawful actions.

      • Guitarplayer2005

        WELL said CatKinNY.

      • Kyle Biggs

        She is telling the truth, I have worked for ITT as well as EDMC. They are all the same, Fraud is the best way to describe for profit colleges. As of 10/17/12, UoP announced the closing of several campuses due to lower enrollment and therefore lower profits. What about the students? After suing ITT (successfully), the problem was brushed under the rug and business continued as usual. They received a slap on the wrist and the director was actually promoted to a high level management position with corporate. I guess it is easier to spend millions on legal fees than it is to correct the problems and operate as an ethical organization. In this economy, it is difficult to walk away from a good paying job but I had to sleep at night and I know what I was being asked to do was flat out wrong. If you are a tax payer, you should be disgusted by the waste and fraud that takes place in this industry. Again, I will confirm the above video reflects the complete truth. Mr. Harkin, thank you for the work you are doing on this matter. Shut them down soon.

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  • Clw1012

    I worked at University of Phoenix for many years, she is telling the truth, enough said.

  • Guitarplayer2005

    This woman is a disgrace to ITT and the students she enrolled. What I heard was someone who for 7 years did NOT SAY A WORD about the issues she discussed, but she certainly took the money. She would have much more credibilty if she walked away at the first mention of improper tactics. For her to do it over and over for seven years and now come forward doesn’t make ITT look bad. It makes her look like the moron she is.

    • Alarmedone

      . . . and “opportunist”. She is probably trying to get a “whistle-blower” reward or the proceeds from a class-action suit for the misdeeds that she committed and benefited from!

    • Dylian

      yeah because she’s not going to bad mouth them at that time when they are providing food to the table for her and her children your the moron it took her the right time the 3 O’s Order of operation in her routine to finally step up glad to see she wants to help people after she knows she messed up this clip helps makes me question if they are misleading and what interest rates and loans do should i question them before signing my life away

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  • mifx

    It should be illegal for a university to promise careers or talk about potential jobs because it is a gamble and many MANY people do NOT get into their desired career after college or university. The university profits from the HOPE that they create which costs them nothing.

  • Deej

    Wow. I must say I work for a for profit college now and these techniques are not mine or any of my colleges. I do know that many of the ITT Tech employees were let go because of the economy and low enrollment. I know that the work I do is not anything like this and my institution strives to not be like that. If a person was to lie and make unreal promises they are doing so against the policies of my employer…those are grounds for termination.

  • CorynearRTP

    I have attended both a traditional large name college and am now attending ITT and I have scrutinized the school to the best of my ability and the only thing I can find wrong with it is that the teachers are paid part time so many have another job which makes it hard to get their entire focus on you the student when you need something. otherwise the curriculum is comparable. I have spoken to several employers in the IT field and they have all said that they do take a second look at all ITT Tech grads that apply with their companies because in the past the students coming out of ITT Tech have performed well and transitioned easily into the work force from college life.

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