Kaplan University: Preying on ‘pain’ and ‘fears’ of low-income students is not ‘remotely deceptive’

“Boiler room” sales tactics at some for-profit colleges have attracted unprecedented government and law enforcement scrutiny over the past two years, the Huffington Post reports. But at Kaplan University, owned by the Washington Post Co., marketing techniques such as preying on the “pain” and “fears” of low-income students should come as no surprise, according to the company’s lawyers. There was “nothing remotely deceptive” about the flyers guiding Kaplan recruiters, according to the Washington Post Co.’s defense against a recently dismissed shareholder lawsuit that claimed the company had fraudulent business practices…

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For-profit colleges find new market niche

The for-profit online institution Kaplan University has an offer for California community college students who cannot get a seat in a class they need, reports the New York Times: Under a memorandum of understanding with the chancellor of the community college system, they can take the online version at Kaplan, with a 42-percent tuition discount. The opportunity would not come cheap, however; Kaplan charges $216 a credit with the discount, compared with $26 a credit at California’s community colleges. Supporters of for-profit education say the offer underscores how Kaplan and other profit-making colleges can help accommodate the mushrooming demand for higher education. At the same time, government officials have become increasingly concerned that students at for-profit colleges are far more likely than those at public institutions to take out large loans—and default on them. For better or worse, the tough times for public colleges nationwide have presented for-profit colleges with a promising marketing opportunity. “We thought, in light of the budget crisis and the number of community college classes which are being canceled, if we have that same class here, we would give students the opportunity to take it at Kaplan,” said Greg F. Marino, president of Kaplan University Group, a profit-making business owned by the Washington Post Company…

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Exam lets prospects ‘test drive’ online education

Nearly seven in 10 students pass Test Drive College Online's competency exam.
Nearly seven in 10 students pass Test Drive College Online's competency exam.

Prospective students returning to college after a lengthy layoff can gauge their basic English and math skills beforehand to make sure they’re ready for online classes with a new program designed to find the most qualified and disciplined students for web-based courses.

Test Drive College Online, launched May 5 at no charge, matches applicants with online institutions that best suit their academic goals after the student passes a 20-question College Competency Exam, which includes freshman-level math and English questions that help advisors identify students who aren’t yet ready for higher education.

Once students pass the competency test, they can enroll in a five-week course designed as a test run, letting them understand the demands of web-based classes before they pay tuition and find they can’t handle the workload. If the student completes the course, an advisor helps the student transfer the credits earned during the five-week class and enroll in any one of 200 online programs.…Read More