State lawmakers look to limit influence of for-profit colleges

Kentucky's attorney general has taken an aggressive stance toward for-profit colleges.

Kentucky’s for-profit colleges and universities, many with large online course offerings, could face tighter regulations after members of an education committee in the State Senate voted unanimously to form an oversight committee for for-profit schools.

The Senate Education Committee on March 26 approved the oversight bill that will alter the State Board for Proprietary Education to regulate for-profit schools. The board existed before the new law was introduced, but six of the 11 board members were from for-profit programs.

The new measure would limit the number of for-profit employees on the board to four.…Read More

Santorum competes with Romney for support from for-profit colleges

Santorum said “the corruption of culture” in America could be traced to the country’s most prestigious campuses.

Surging Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, a longtime critic of public education, said at a recent campaign stop that President Obama has “waged war” against for-profit colleges that could serve as job-training centers in the recovering economy.

Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator who has vaulted to the top of the Republican primary polls in recent weeks, outlined a plan for for-profit schools – many with vast online programs for nontraditional students – if he were to win the presidency.

Santorum’s advocacy for companies that operate for-profit schools comes just weeks after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney presented Orlando-based for-profit campus Full Sail University as a model for how higher education should operate.…Read More

Congress to investigate CEO pay at for-profit colleges

Cummings will lead the charge against 13 for-profit schools.

Officials from for-profit colleges, with some of the largest online programs in the U.S., painted the industry as a fiscally sound choice for students after Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., called for an investigation into “lavish” CEO pay at for-profit schools.

Cummings said Dec. 13 that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform would investigate executive pay at 13 for-profit programs, some with high student loan default rates and a checkered history of false claims used to dupe students into signing up for massive loans.

Committee members will decide whether for-profit schools, which depend on federally guaranteed student loans for the vast majority of their profits, were awarding executives fairly while student dropout rates and loan defaults rose at many prominent for-profit colleges.…Read More

Federal report slams online for-profit colleges

Harkin requested the GAO report released Nov. 22.

Undercover investigators from the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) earned course credit while skipping classes and submitting substandard work in online for-profit college programs – findings the for-profit industry has labeled politicized and unreliable.

“For-Profit Schools: Experiences of Undercover Students Enrolled in Online Classes at Selected Colleges,” a GAO report released Nov. 22, is the second government examination of for-profit colleges’ practices, which have been called into question by many in higher education and lawmakers in Congress.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), head of the Senate’s education committee, ordered the yearlong investigation in which GAO agents pretended to be online students at 15 for-profit colleges.…Read More

Low job placement rates puts for-profits at risk

New figures show two California campuses owned by for-profit education firm Career Education Corp. appear to have placed fewer than 65 percent of graduates in jobs – the minimum job placement rate required by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, California Watch reports. And while Career Education officials disclosed earlier this month that job placement rates at 36 of 49 health education and art and design schools had fallen below the minimum required by the accrediting agency, the new data show that as many as 45 of the campuses may have missed the mark.

Click here for the full story

…Read More

For-profit colleges slow in response to prospective students

Some schools respond to prospective student eMails in minutes.

For an industry known for its aggressive student recruitment techniques, many private, for-profit colleges take as long as 12 hours to return a prospective student’s phone call—and two days to respond to eMail inquiries from potential students.

Four in 10 for-profit schools don’t respond to student phone calls within a day, and seven in 10 schools have a same-day eMail response, according to a white paper released this week by Leads360, a California-based company that sells enrollment management technology.

In the survey of 28 for-profit colleges—including well-known schools like Grand Canyon University (GCU) and American Public University (APU)—“none showed consistent across-the-board success that would maximize their chances of enrolling the highest number of qualified prospects,” the white paper says.…Read More

For-profit college company denies US recruitment lawsuit

Education Management could face a hefty settlement.

A large for-profit education company has asked a judge to throw out a Department of Justice lawsuit that claims it used improper sales tactics to lure unqualified students and the billions of dollars in financial aid they bring.

Education Management Corp. runs more than 100 higher-education programs across the country, offering diplomas and degrees in fashion, culinary arts, business and other fields, some through online courses.

A whistleblower lawsuit backed this year by the Department of Justice accuses the company of paying illegal incentives to recruiters to sign up students, in violation of a 1992 law that bans such practices.…Read More

How for-profit colleges can save themselves—and higher education

For-profit colleges are on the ropes. Damaging congressional investigations, a bruising fight over new federal regulations, and a stagnant economy have all combined to reverse what had been unprecedented growth in for-profit enrollments, the Atlantic reports. The latest numbers suggest that new student enrollments fell 14 percent at the top 10 for-profit universities, with giants like the Apollo Group and Kaplan University experiencing declines of more than 40 percent. As Bloomberg Businessweek reported last week, financial analysts now see an outlook for proprietary colleges that ranges from uncertain to gloomy…

Click here for the full story

…Read More

Are for-profit colleges hurting online education’s reputation?

For-profit colleges account for about half of student loan defaults.

Congressional hearings and a barrage of criticism have put for-profit colleges on the defensive, and with many of the sector’s largest schools touting vast web-based course options, those who track the industry say for-profit programs could damage the public perception of online education.

Lawmakers from both major parties have defended the for-profit industry’s business practices, but Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) has remained one of the most vocal—and active—critics of for-profit colleges’ recruitment and student loan practices.

Read more about for-profit colleges in higher education……Read More

Students, lawmakers question value of for-profit colleges

A Senate report revealed abysmal graduation rates at some for-profit schools.

Taryn Zychal thought she’d be working as an industrial designer after graduating from the Art Institute of Philadelphia. Instead, it’s the debt collection agencies that are working overtime, calling her nearly 30 times a day from 8:30 in the morning to 9:30 at night.

The 27-year-old says she has around $150,000 due in loan payments from attending the private, for-profit university, but Zychal said she couldn’t get a job in her chosen field, and not one of her credits would transfer when she tried to switch to another school.

With what she says is a useless degree, she can’t pay her loans, which cost $1,500 a month.…Read More