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 President has introduced only the grand idea of providing tuition-free education for all students attending community colleges, an idea which, at first glance, seems to have great merit. But at this point we know very few details.
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.
This Monday, a Minnesota appellate court panel upheld a jury's verdict ordering Globe University to pay $395,000 in compensatory damages to Heidi Weber, a former academic department head for the university.
It's time we look to them as the most obvious source of funding to support our public colleges and start investing our money into a system that we know works.
Treating Corinthian as too big to fail, and thus sacrificing students and common sense, simply to find a buyer, any buyer, is a terrible course and a terrible precedent. The time to stop this bad decision is right now.
I have repeatedly sought comment from Caffee and his co-founder, Shaun Ritchie, including after reading Caffee's letter, and they have not responded.
With APSCU leading the effort to overturn the Obama administration's "gainful employment rule," and with the collapse of Corinthian raising issues about how to protect students when predatory for-profit colleges fail, it's crucial to understand that this industry signs up many of its students through blatant deceptions.
Who is operating all these scam websites, aimed at tricking struggling people into getting on sales calls for for-profit colleges? And when will the big for-profit colleges linked to these operations -- companies that get 85 to 90 percent of their revenues from taxpayers -- tell us the truth about how they do their business?
With more than $30 billion a year in taxpayer money going to the for-profit college industry, the shady world of generating leads of potential students is a thousand-headed regenerating hydra, and I am only beginning to discover that a lot more information is hiding in plain sight.
The operations may well be in violation of federal statutes prohibiting deceptive marketing and unwanted telephone sales calls, as well as DOE laws and regulations barring payment of sales commissions to college recruiters. At the very least, they are guilty of using sleazy tactics to sell poor-quality products.
The complaint repeats many of the claims from APSCU's suit to strike down the 2011 gainful employment rule: that the DOE didn't have the authority to issue such a rule; that the Department has not provided a reasoned basis for the rule; and that the rule is "unlawful, arbitrary, and irrational."
The administration had the opportunity, through a strong gainful employment rule, to demand here and now that federal aid only go to career education programs that were truly helping their students. It didn't seize the chance.
Even though the for-profit college industry continues to pour campaign contributions into Capitol Hill coffers, I haven't found any 2014 candidates out there who, like the 2012 Romney, have affirmatively stressed their support for the industry.
It's a critical moment for the public to take another close look at this industry, which now has 13 percent of all U.S. college students and swallows more than a quarter of federal aid -- over $30 billion a year in taxpayer money. It's also a critical moment for President Obama to stand up for fiscal responsibility.
Last week it was reported that the Pentagon placed Globe University and Minnesota School of Business on probation and the schools were barred from receiving some military educational benefits.