Ed-tech advocates familiar with the eLearning caucus did not expect for-profit colleges–many with large online programs and teams of Washington lobbyists–to have undue influence on caucus members.

“One can’t deny that the for-profit sector has invested greatly in distance learning, but one can argue that’s because there was a tremendous need,” Shiffman said, adding that for-profit schools could see the eLearning caucus as a chance to heal their battered public image. “The idea that this could be a vehicle for the for-profit sector doesn’t seem founded on anything. In the marketplace now, there are many for-profit colleges that will be interested in bettering their image through this [caucus].”

eLearning caucus members will likely invite input from every sector of higher education–from private to public to for-profit, Scheufele said.

“The idea of providing online education is one that many schools have picked up on,” he said. “This is a chance for everyone to come to the table and talk.”


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