May 9, 2015

The Era of Predatory For-Profit Colleges Might Be Over


Even if predatory for-profit college companies can hang on for a period, restoring revenues while retaining their abusive practices, the era where they blatantly and arrogantly rip off and students and taxpayers, while Washington politicians and lobbyists do their bidding without apparent shame, is likely near its end. But to make that happen, the Obama Administration must act, and act with urgency.

For decades, bad actors in this industry have engaged in awful abuses, and for five years we’ve seen steady revelations of such misdeeds, including blatant deceptions by for-profit colleges to students and government overseers. But only in the past two years have federal and state law enforcement investigators really stepped up. Now the effects of the bad publicity and heightened monitoring are at last being felt: This week alone we saw the final collapse of Corinthian Colleges, as well as dramatic contractions by fellow for-profit college giants EDMC and Career Education Corp. In March, industry leader the University of Phoenix admitted it has less than half the number of students it had five years ago.

Meanwhile, congressional critics of the industry, like Elizabeth Warren, Dick Durbin, Maxine Waters, Elijah Cummings, and Mark Takano, are increasingly emboldened in standing up for students and against industry abuses — and there is growing Hill support for those views.

A year ago, Marco Rubio was writing to the U.S. Department of Education seeking leniency for Corinthian, which had been caught in a string of deceptions. Jeb Bush was appearing at the annual convention of the for-profit colleges lobby group, APSCU, denouncing the Obama administration’s “gainful employment” rule, which is aimed at holding career education programs accountable for consistently leaving graduates with insurmountable debt.

But the politicians who have been cheerleaders for the industry are quiet right now, and for the first-time in a long time the APSCU summer convention, at least for now, lacks a marquee politician speaker. [UPDATE 5-11-15 5:49 pm: APSCU’s convention web page has now listed a new keynote: Newt Gingrich, whose wife got her first DC job from her family friend and congressman, Steve Gunderson, who now heads APSCU.]

An industry that was getting $33 billion a year in federal aid, buying its executives lavish homes, private planes, nights on the town, Park Avenue dinner parties, and fancy ski junkets, is now in remarkable disarray.

“I’m writing to let you know that Wells Fargo has elected to cease covering Education as a stand-alone sector and I have been displaced as a result,” read a mass email to colleagues this week from Trace Urdan, who long hawked the stocks of for-profit colleges like Corinthian for Wells Fargo Securities, usually without reminding investors that Wells Fargo was the largest institutional investor in Corinthian. Urdan, a smiling symbol of the for-profit college industry’s indifference to student misery, a man who once called for-profit enrollees “subprime” students, acknowledged in the email, “Wells’ decision was an understandable one based primarily on the continued dwindling market cap and volumes of the for-profit post-secondary stocks” — in English: many key for-profit college stocks are now almost worthless.

An article this week in Inside Higher Ed did a good job of capturing the turmoil that has shaken this industry, but I take issue with one sentence in it: “Some critics of for-profits… celebrated what they say is a comeuppance for predatory colleges.”

No reasonable person is celebrating. Many fine instructors and staff, who tried to do the right thing for students, will lose their jobs. Hard-working students — single moms, low-income teenagers, returning veterans — will face new challenges in completing their education. I know many of these staff and students, some before I ever worked on these issues. Some are good friends.

But efforts by the for-profit colleges’ dwindling group of defenders — at APSCU and the Wall Street Journal editorial board — to blame the Obama Administration for the chaos is just one more example of the insufferable arrogance of this industry.

In fact, the blame falls squarely on greedy operators who have made signing up new students for weak, overpriced programs, and depositing their federal aid checks, the only goal of their schools.

There is blame to be apportioned in the government for sure — but not to those now getting tough with predatory schools. Instead, the blameworthy include George W. Bush administration officials, as well as some career employees at the Department of Education, who allowed the torrent of waste, fraud, and abuse to go on for decades. Some eventually took jobs with predatory for-profits, while others simply have concluded that the best way to get to retirement is to avoid crossing powerful for-profit colleges, their lobbyists, and the industry’s bought-and-paid-for pals on Capitol Hill.

The combined work of predatory executives and lax regulators is what has produced so many broke, unemployed students, and now supposedly broke, shut-down schools.

The government officials and prosecutors who are now getting tough on the industry deserve credit.

But the Obama Administration needs to step up right away.

In the throes of the 2008 financial crisis, Rahm Emanuel, about to become President Obama’s chief of staff, said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste…. it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

That’s the situation here. Allowing debt-collector ECMC to buy most of the Corinthian campuses, on terms unfavorable to students and taxpayers, was a major misstep by the Administration. But now the Department of Education seems determined to make some critical positive moves.

There is much that the Department can do with its existing authorities: enforce the prohibitions in federal law on misrepresentation and on paying recruiters commissions; enforce the requirements that colleges be stable and responsible financially; enforce the rule limiting a for-profit college from receiving more than 90 percent of its revenue from federal aid; monitor and punish colleges’ manipulation of student default rates; carefully review questionable conversions from for-profit to non-profit status; and vigorously enforce the new “gainful employment” rule, once the industry’s weak court challenge to the rule is rejected. The Department should be acting much more promptly to enforce these rules, and to impose sanctions where and when it finds violations.

The Department also could require that colleges agree, as a condition of getting federal money, not to bar their students from taking disputes to court — a powerful step that could dramatically increase deterrence of wrongdoing.

Most importantly right now, the Department of Education can use existing powers to forgive the loans of students who attended Corinthian and other schools engaged in systematic abuses — and to create a fair, easy-to-use process to help students find out all their options and make the right choices.

In addition, the Department could undertake a determined new rule-making proceeding to strengthen its regulatory powers. And right now, there is even the opportunity for the Administration to go to Congress for even tougher reforms, including barring schools from using tax dollars to pay for marketing (like buying the naming rights to an NFL stadium) and demanding that colleges who regularly leave their students in default bear some responsibility for paying the loans back to taxpayers.

While it works for new reforms, the Department of Education also needs to stop, right now, its career bureaucrats and debt collectors from steering students the wrong way on the ground, such as advising Corinthian students that their options include transferring to other predatory for-profit colleges, or telling Corinthian students seeking loan forgiveness that they have no chance for that.

The Department of Education also needs to stop the phenomenon of executives of penalized or shut-down predatory companies getting right back in the lucrative game, obtaining millions more in federal aid with a new company.  There are dozens of examples of this.  Such executives should instead be barred from the education field, and law enforcement should go after their ill-gotten gains.

Finally, and critically, the Department needs to stop the worst predatory schools from continuing to enroll new students, which will only increase the number of victims nationwide seeking loan relief. In the days before it closed down, Corinthian recruiters were still on the phone, trying to sign up students and bank their federal aid checks, and engaging in fresh misrepresentations. Even after EDMC announced this week that it would be closing 15 Art Institutes campuses and cease new enrollments there, company recruiters were online apparently trying to get new students to enroll at those very campuses.

This week, hundreds more people across the country will be manipulated and deceived by recruiters for predatory for-profit colleges into enrolling in programs that will ruin their financial futures. This must end.

Such reforms should help those honest, effective schools in the career education field to thrive, and gain back market share from the big predatory actors with their endless deceptive TV ads and round-the-clock boiler-room call centers.

A commentator on TheStreet wrote this week, “The fate of for-profit education depends on whether the industry can reinvent itself as a viable competitor to nonprofit education by lowering costs, raising the standards and promoting realistic academic goals that are affordable to many low-income students. That might be a daunting task for an educational system that answers to shareholders not students.” But if the Department of Education makes some bold moves right now, that is the kind of future that career education, for-profit or non-profit, can have: Schools can thrive, if, and only if, they act with integrity and genuinely help students to build careers and solid financial futures.

This article also appears on Huffington Post

  • Dahn Shaulis

    David, I’m not convinced of the hypothesis–yet. It’s going to have to be a herculean effort by the Debt Collective, Corinthian100, ITT Tech Warriors, “I am Ai” group and other student groups–with very little help from Democrats or mainstream unions. For-profit colleges continue to advertise and recruit every day while they collect Title IV funds and GI Bill money. And the next adminstration will likely be more friendly to these schools. Community colleges, HBCUs , and tribal colleges may actually fall faster than the for-profit industry.

  • Quinta53

    I was caught up in the Career Education Corporation/Le Cordon Bleu web when I was blatantly lied to in order to get me to register for their classes. I am 62 years old and have been in the culinary profession for over 40 years yet never obtained a degree. I was loosing out on jobs due to this and so I went to LCB for information and was promised their courses would guarantee my future, that their placement service would get me jobs for a lifetime and that it was assured and this was the road for me. I went back several times and both my son and I registered and began attending. Very soon the instructors were asking me why I was even there, I maintained a 4.0 avg, President’s Honor Roll and instructor’s told me I should save my money for they had nothing to teach me. We only attended for about 6 months and left soon thereafter, sold all the books and materials to lower our debt yet I have been promptly paying student loans for over 4-5 years now while my son is now at a serious culinary school (with even more loans there)- I tried looking for an attorney to help me get out from under and NO ONE would help, there was no help anywhere and so I kept paying and still owe. I now work at a bank to help with my son’s tuition and will be in debt forever. Do you think there is any realistic hope for all of us? They would sign up anyone with a heartbeat and many people there should have never been registered. All of us owe student loans, please tell me there will be hope. Unfortunately all the money I’ve paid will be lost forever and I could sure use it, they’ve already spent my money.

    • Dahn Shaulis

      Quinta53, I’m sorry to hear about your situation. Students and former students from the Career Education Corporation schools need to band together as the students from Corinthian Colleges, ITT Tech, and Art Institutes are doing. Presently, the Corinthian Colleges students are working with the Debt Collective to challenge their payments (“defense to repayment”). Hopefully the Debt Collective can get enough resources to expand their work.

  • Keith Foster

    David Halperin must have been dropped on his head shortly after birth. It’s one of the only ways to explain why he views things in the skewed manner he does.

    To give you an example of this, I’ll step away from the “college” category for a moment. Halperin’s bio states that he was a senior policy advisor for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign; that fact alone proves that he suffers from diminished reasoning abilities. Halperin’s bio also states that he was co-founder of RealNetworks, however the Wikipedia history of RealNetworks doesn’t include Halperin as co-founder or even part of the original management team. So Halperin is either a liar or he grossly exaggerated his role.

    But let me turn to the subject at hand: so-called for-profit schools.

    Halperin’s constant criticisms of makes it sound as if not-for-profit educational institutions aren’t guilty of the same ills he blames on the for-public schools. He makes it sound as if every degree awarded by a not-for-profit institution is a sold gold ticket to gainful employment. You know, all those fantastic Liberal Arts and Philosophy and English Literature degrees that make the graduates excellent candidates to drive a taxi cab.

    He makes it sound as if the “skills” learned at not-for-profit schools are of great value, but he fails to tell us how the skills of partying, drinking, dope smoking, and giving oral sex are better than the skills taught of a college that focuses on short-term specific courses. Am I exaggerating? Well, did you ever see the annual list of America’s best partying colleges? Were any of Corinthian’s or DeVry’s or National’s or Kaplan’s campuses ever listed?

    Halperin doesn’t explain why spending $60k per year for a 4-year not-for-profit institution is better than $20k per year at a 2-year for-profit institution. Seems to me that if the best job that’s available to the graduates of either institution is working at McDonald’s, then being saddled with just $40k in student loans is far more preferable than $240k in student loans. Oh, but then I guess that Halperin forgot to mention that a degree from a $60k per year school offers no better guarantee for employment. Not surprising since we already know that Halperin is either a liar or gross exaggerator.

    People like Halperin (in particular California AG Harris) make it sound as if the not-for-profit schools don’t suck up public funds. But they do, as the students rely on virtually the same loans and grants as the for-profit schools, and the state run colleges that are inexpensive or free are funded by the same public funds. So if we, the tax payers, are getting screwed, we’re getting screwed regardless of the nature of the school. What we need protection from are power-hungry political animals like Kamala Harris.

    And finally, calling a school a “not-for-profit” school is as much of a joke as the general misuse of “non-profit” corporate filing. If there are abuses to be had, a non-profit corporation will exploit them as much as a for-profit corporation. Non-profit status has never, ever stopped the over expenditure or misuse of funds or the inappropriate compensations paid to incompetent employees.

    If Halperin is searching for honesty and integrity he should start by cleaning up his own act. And if the Huffington Post was striving for honesty and integrity they would disband their entire organization.

    • jds

      I went to Pittsburg St in kansas, a school that the u.s. army recognizes if you want a b.a., in order to become a commissioned officer. They were ranked second in the nation as a small college “partying” school. They have a student union, they are not located in a small strip mall. They also have the best automotive program in the state of kansas. Now Kaplan of Omaha on the other hand….no football team, no student union, (they may have a vending machine) and certainly you can’t work at the school to pay some of your tuition off. (Lol) The army recognize their credits? LOL. These schools are designed exclusively for a few families to skim u.s. taxpayers of money and using phoners to contact single mom’s for this purpose. One will be closing soon due to the fact that you can’t call up “potential enrollees” 5 or 6 times a day forever and not get angry responses. Guess which one.

      • Keith Foster

        The experience I’m familiar with is vastly different. I know of students at for-profit schools who have worked at the schools to help pay for the tuition and loans (both an automotive school and a tech school).

        My understanding is that the schools had more than a vending machine and the students didn’t care about football.

        In my 40+ years of being in the media business I’ve had many occasions to take on interns and hire full-time employees. The students from the for-profit schools were every bit as qualified as those from the “academic” schools. In fact, in the 20 years of adding an online element to my media business I have preferred to call the tech schools because the students come knowing how computers work and how to use software programs other than just knowing how to send twitter messages.

        The point is that Halperin’s negative comments are ridiculously overstated.

        • davidhalperindc

          Keith Foster, the fact that you hate non-profit colleges says nothing about my criticisms of the deceptions and abuses carried out by some for-profit colleges. And your assumption that if something isn’t in Wikipedia it must not be true (even though simple Googling would show otherwise) suggests you have no idea what you are talking about, or you pretend you don’t.

          • Keith Foster

            David – The fact that you think I hate not-for-profit colleges shows what a dope you are. I merely told the truth and showed how YOUR whacked out hatred for for-profit schools is completely ridiculous.

            By the way, I found the citation about you on Wikipedia because I did Google your name. Other than your own web entries, I found no other references to your supposed involvement with RealNetworks. And no, I don’t think that everything on Wikipedia is absolutely correct. If I did I would have only called you a liar instead of prevaricating by writing “…or grossly exaggerated.”

            Also, I love that you didn’t try to actually address the points I made as it shows that you don’t know what you are talking about. The good news for you is that the Huffington Rag is the perfect place for someone like you to be a columnist.

          • davidhalperindc

            All you need to do is Google the words in the statement you claim is false. The facts start showing up on the first page. There were articles in the New York Time, Wired, and other places. It is true, but you call me a liar. Tremendous. You didn’t actually address any of my points about predatory for-profit colleges. You simply attacked non-profit colleges, as if that had anything to do with me or my article. Your research and analytical skills are at same level. You are good at name-calling, though.

          • Keith Foster

            David – My research and analytical skills are quite excellent.

            I Googled your name. In your previous reply you stated that a simple Google search would have been sufficient. As I told you, that’s what I did and what I found was that you lied.

            Now you come back and repeat the instructions as if there would be a different result.

            As I wrote to you in my earlier reply, I actually gave you the benefit of doubt by writing that I didn’t call you a complete liar, that I said you might simply be grossly exaggerating your experience.

            Well, I did do more research, and what I found is that you did indeed grossly exaggerate your relationship with RealNetworks. In fact, you weren’t even involved with RealNetworks, but with the early stage of Progressive Networks, the precursor to RealNetworks. Your own bio states that you were only involved in 1993 and 1994 (before the company changed it’s name to RealNetworks) and before creating the products it became known for.

            Interestingly, the official RealNetworks webpage makes this following statement about the company: “Many people know RealNetworks from way back in 1995, when we introduced RealAudio, the first audio streaming solution for the Internet. Continued innovation led to generations of RealVideo and what is now known as RealPlayer, which is downloaded millions of times per month.”

            David, you were gone before 1995. The best and most correct thing for you to claim is that you were involved with Progressive Networks, the predecessor of RealNetworks. So you did lie; you grossly exaggerated your position to make it appear as if you have greater business acumen and experience than you do. And it’s this same type of gross exaggeration that you used to grossly overstate details regarding the for-profit school industry.

            I addressed all of your points, and I did so by stating facts that are known to virtually everyone. Your only effective response would have been to state and prove that degrees and diplomas from not-for-profit schools did guarantee success for the students. But you couldn’t do it because you know it’s not true.

            You should have responded to me by showing proof that $120k in student loans from a not-for-profit school is better than $40k in student loans from a for-profit school. But you couldn’t do it because you know it’s not true.

            So my original statement is correct: you make it sound as if not-for-profit educational institutions aren’t guilty of the same ills you blame on the for-public schools.

            I did another Google search that you might find interesting. I searched “fraud at state and city colleges.” What I learned was that not-for-profit schools are and have been perpetrators of student related fraud to the degree that they have had to accept very rigid policies and procedures in dealing with the situations.

            For example, an excerpt from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities policy states: “MnSCU is committed to creating an environment where fraudulent and other dishonest acts are not tolerated. All Minnesota State Colleges and Universities employees are responsible for complying with the State Code of Ethics…This policy applies to all MnSCU trustees and, employees, including faculty (full-time, adjunct and part-time faculty), administrative staff, and student employees.”

            Why would Minnesota’s not-for-profit colleges need such a policy against fraud if fraud doesn’t regularly exist?

            What types of fraud is Minnesota concerned with? Here’s what they say: “A deliberate act or failure to act with the intention of obtaining an unauthorized benefit, destruction of property or otherwise fraudulent behavior. Dishonest acts include, but are not limited to:

            * Theft or misappropriation of funds, or other resources;

            * Forgery or alteration of documents;

            * Bribery or attempted bribery;

            * Unauthorized use of records or access to information systems, including unauthorized sharing of computer security clearances;

            * Unauthorized alteration, manipulation, or destruction of computer files and data;

            * Falsification of reports to management or external agencies;

            * Conflicts of interest that pursue a personal benefit or advantage while compromising the public interest;

            * Improper handling or reporting of financial transactions.

            In other words, Minnesota State Colleges have engaged in the same acts that you’ve claimed are rampant at for-profit schools.

            In your earlier response you unjustifiably claimed that I hate not-for-profit schools. Why would I hate not-for-profit schools? I’m not in the school business; I’m not a teacher; I haven’t been a full time student in more than 40 years. But I am a taxpayer, and I hate when some snot-nosed shyster rat tries to pretend that he’s doing me a favor by rooting out what he calls fraud.

            The question is who is paying you to fabricate these lies and exaggerations?

            One other thing, I am good at name calling because I back it up with truth. On the other hand, your ad hominem attacks on members of the for-profit school industry are only supported by gross exaggerations and devious political machinations.

          • davidhalperindc

            You are unable to reason. 1. I was one of two founders of a company, originally called Progressive Networks. While I was there, it was developing the products you described. After I left, the company changed its name, but it was the same company that I co-founded. 2. Again, you seem to think that your criticisms of nonprofit colleges somehow negate my discussions of the fraud at for-profit colleges. That doesn’t make sense at all.
            As to who is paying me to work on these issues, an issue you raise like it’s some deep mystery, that information is posted on this very website: Calling me “some snot-nosed shyster rat” does not make you smarter.

          • Keith Foster

            David – I’m the one who understands the full picture of the school industry. You don’t even understand the lies you’ve invented about your own work history.

            The ills of the education industry are the ills of the school industry, not the for-profit school industry alone. If degrees are worthless, then they are worthless everywhere. If skills learned are worthless, then they are worthless everywhere. If public funds are being misused, then they are being misused everywhere. And since the not-for-profit school industry is the overwhelmingly larger part of the whole, then the vastly more important target is the not-for-profit schools.

            Talk about not being able to reason, you think you fight an ant infestation in your home by standing at the kitchen counter picking them off 1 or 2 at a time. I’d suggest that the reason for your early departure from Progressive Networks and the absence of any public proof that you were little more than a spare tool in the tool kit was because of this mental limitation – which you fantasized into a significant “founder” role.

            My calling you a snot-nosed shyster rat isn’t to make me smarter, it’s because it’s what needed to let other readers know what you are, lest they think that you know what you are writing about.

          • davidhalperindc

            You’re the one, all right. Whoever you are, with your inept and sad fixation on trying to dispute the simple, indisputable fact that another individual and I founded a company in 1993.

          • Keith Foster

            I have no fixation on your relationship with Rob Glaser. I read the article you wrote. I compared it to my own personal experiences in hiring interns and employees over the past 43 years. It didn’t jive so I looked for your background. Because I’ve had great personal experience in the development and deployment of streaming technology from the early and mid-1990’s to the present day, I found your inclusion of the RealNetworks founder’s claim to be very interesting – I don’t ever recall meeting you at any tech trade show or streaming media seminar (although I had many conversations with Glaser and others). So I conducted an online search of your name and discovered what I’ve presented: that I wouldn’t have met you because you were not there. I can appreciate how upset you are that someone took the time to check your credentials. But the blame is on you, not me.

            It’s your inept fixation on the school industry that’s in question. And to bolster any argument you make you support yourself with a lie about your background. Being the fan of a World Series baseball team doesn’t really give you the right to say that “we won” and then claim any special baseball ability or knowledge.

            You have clearly over-played whatever involvement you had with Glaser and you have clearly over-reached in your analysis of the school industry. You aren’t simply commenting on the news of the day as a spectator, you have inserted personal attacks as if you are a principal player on a subject that you know little about – and your entire frame of reference for making this commentary is that you were once an advisor to a political moron and a grossly overstated business experience.

            Personally, I would have much rather have you said something like, “When my buddy Rob and I founded Progressive Networks we attempted to hire graduates from a local tech college to work on the project. However, because they were so poorly trained that they didn’t even know how to turn on a computer we had to rely on the well educated graduates from a local 4-year state college. Then, in the 22 years since the companies inception, try as we might in all our RealMedia offices with IT graduates from for-profit tech colleges, they were never competent enough for the job. And so it is with this knowledge I am able to attack the for-profit school industry.”

            But you can’t say any of the above because you had no involvement with Progressive/RealMedia that would have given you the ability to judge the students and their skills. For all we know, you were jettisoned from the company and left off all official company histories because of your lack of practical skills. This does not give you the knowledge and experience to judge others.

          • davidhalperindc

            Just for the record in case anyone is reading this besides “Keith Foster,” who has posted again and again in a feeble effort to attack my reputation: His arguments are ridiculous, in substance and in tone. I guess I should have just ignored him from the beginning, but it’s done.

            On my bio I note that I was “co-founder of the Internet company Progressive Networks (now RealNetworks) (1993-94).” In more compressed versions of the bio, I have simply said I was the co-founder of RealNetworks, since it is the same company and changed its name after I left. That job is what I did for a year of my life — founded and ran that business — so it’s an appropriate item to list on my bio. “Keith Foster” says I “have clearly over-played whatever involvement” I had with that company, but all I have said is that I was cofounder, which is undeniably true. I could not have under-played it more.

            “Keith Foster” also tells me “your entire frame of reference for making this commentary [about higher education] is that you were once an advisor to a political moron and a grossly overstated business experience.” Where does he get that? You may look at my bio and note I have a range of experiences, many relating to higher ed, to supervising staff, to evaluating public policy issues, etc. But the real reason I am involved with this issue is that, in the course of my advocacy work, I met so many students whose lives were ruined by predatory for-profit colleges, and, especially, so many instructors and staff who told me they felt ashamed at what their schools were doing.

            I don’t know if “Keith Foster” is being paid to waste my time, or just has nothing else to do, but I have to give him some credit for one thing. He did waste 30 minutes of my life.

          • Keith Foster

            Just for the record, in case anyone besides me and David is reading this message thread, David Halperin has gone on a tear attacking the educational system – not the entire educational system (which God knows needs major overhauling), just the so-called for-profit schools.

            David presents his case as if the ills he cites is exclusive to the for-profit schools. He presents his case as if all diplomas and degrees issued by so-called not-for-profit schools are guarantees to success, and that diplomas and degrees from for-profit schools are worthless. He ignores that fact that almost everyone has a friend or relative who has graduated from a state sponsored or not-for-profit college and has been either out-of-work since graduation or working in a job that is unrelated to their course of study (flipping burgers, driving for Uber, soliciting for petition signatures outside Walmart, etc.).

            David finds it alarming that for-profit schools would have lobbyists in Washington and various state capital, but he doesn’t mention that all colleges and collegiate organizations utilize professional lobbyists and representatives in order to advance their causes. He also doesn’t mention that he has worked for Lobbyists.

            To support his findings, David has exaggerated a business background to lead people to believe he has great knowledge of the workplace in general, and the school industry in particular. He has known of this. David acknowledges that he spent merely one year with Progressive Networks. He claims that this one year qualifies him as a founder (although outside of David’s own online web posts, there is no official company or objective citation to support the claim). David says that he “ran” the business. However, in the year in which David says he spent at Progressive there was no business, per se, to run. The products and technologies that RealNetworks is known for can after David left. In any event, it was a year…just one year.

            In addition to the (lack of) experience that David gained at Progressive, David has been an advocate for numerous socialist causes and participated in doing something for some very despicable, morally corrupt, knucklehead politicians.

            David Halperin is an exaggerator of the first order. And it seems he doesn’t know how to tell time, either. But I do have to give him credit, David has been a Baltimore Orioles fan and Baltimore has often had very, very good teams with excellent players. I, myself, am a Yankees fan, but I do appreciate great baseball when it’s played no matter who the team is…except the Mets.

            Incidentally, I have been asked by no one to engage in this correspondence with David, I am not being paid for it. As a real founder of companies, and a hands-on boss who is always working, I can do with my time as I see fit. I have no investors to satisfy and my company receives no public funding whatsoever. I, however, seem to be supporting a small village somewhere in the world with all the taxes I pay.

          • Sanders Fabares

            Keith, for someone that considers themselves so knowledgeable about the education industry you jump pretty quickly to juvenile personal attacks on another person without submitting any evidence to support your position. I have read David’s book and looked up his references and I believe that he does have a good bead on what the state of the for-profit industry is. I see nowhere that he disparages the non-for-profits. You are totally missing the point of the article.

            “I, however, seem to be supporting a small village somewhere in the world with all the taxes I pay.” – this last line is the most telling thing that you said during your whole tirade. You are worried about what possible reforms will mean for your personal taxes. I guess it doesn’t bother you that they whole reason that these debt factories exist in the first place is through your tax dollars. Would you rather that you taxes go toward pell grants which support known fraudulent institutions, adding to the 1.3 trillion student debt crisis? Or would you rather they be used to try to repair the problem? Without taxpayer money, these schools would have gone belly up long ago and many generations of students would have been saved from debt.

            I just hate how successful people are so unable to empathize with others who have been the victims of a known scam. They blame those victims, when it is the schools that should take the entirety of the fault. If the recruiter con artists did not sign those students they would have simply found others. The very existence of these schools means that there will be future generations of debt that will contribute to the problem. There is no way that you can justify an English 101 class that costs over 1000 dollars and is not even transferable. It is ludicrous the facts that you find when you look into the reports, investigations, and stories from students. I suggest that you take the time to do so before you make a personal attack on someone. Back yourself up with facts, otherwise you are just a playground bully.

            It does not mean there was no fire just because your house is untouched while the rest of the neighborhood went up in flames.

          • Keith Foster

            Sanders – I actually provide more supportive evidence than Halperin. I stated my personal experiences with hiring people from for-profit and not-for-profit schools. The best that Halperin can do is just assume that graduates of for-profit schools are poorly trained and get low paying jobs.

            Halperin backs up his entire position with a gross lie about his personal experience in the business world.

            In addition, if you want to verify if my comments about the over all educational system in America being in bad shape all you have to do is read any of the thousands of stories about this. Or, you can just watch Robert De Niro’s graduation speech at NYU. He wasn’t talking to or about graduates of a for-profit school.

            And yes, I resent having to pay more and more taxes that get wasted by students who are semi-illiterate. State, city and community colleges are a drain on the tax payers. Far more money goes to pay for students of these schools than to for-profit schools.

            If you want to pay contribute more money go right ahead, but you don’t speak for me.

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