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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lawmaker Targets CEO Pay At For-Profit Colleges

A U.S. Congressman is seeking information regarding CEO pay at for-profit colleges, according to a Bloomberg report:
"Executive pay at for-profit colleges is being investigated by the ranking member of a congressional oversight committee, who said “lavish” compensation at the schools bears little relationship to academic well-being.

"Representative Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent letters asking to see pay agreements from 13 companies, including Apollo Group Inc. (APOL)Strayer Education Inc. (STRA) and Washington Post Co. (WPO)’s Kaplan unit. Cummings cited a 2010 Bloomberg article that showed executives at the 15 U.S. publicly traded colleges received compensation that exceeded traditional colleges and collected $2 billion from selling stock over the previous seven years.
"Congress and the U.S. Education Department are scrutinizing for-profit colleges, which received almost $32 billion in federal grants and loans in the 2009-2010 school year. Students at those schools are defaulting on government loans at higher rates than those who attend nonprofit and public institutions.
“'The American taxpayers fund these schools through billions of dollars in tuition assistance, but there is little evidence that lavish executive pay is linked to the well-being of the students they are supposed to educate,' Cummings, who represents Maryland, said in a statement."

Government "Caved" To For-Profit School Lobbying

A New Jersey Star Ledger editorial opines:
"Chalk up another victory for the lobbyists who protect profits over people. Students, scammed by for-profit schools promising good-pbyists representing the $30 billion industry.
"Arne Duncan, President Obama’s education secretary, had the right idea, at first. Only one in 10 students attends a private, for-profit school, but they account for nearly half of all student loan defaults. So, hold schools accountable by measuring gainful employment through a student’s debt burden and how quickly a loan is paid off. Withhold access to federal loans and grants — the bulk of student financing — if they fail to meet those standards.
"But the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, which donates generously to everyone from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.), unleashed its arm-twisters. And Duncan caved. Now, schools that fail to meet standards can hobble along a few extra years before the federal spigot is turned off. Students deserve better."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Arizona Online Schools Lag Behind Traditional Schools

The Arizona Republic reports that "doubts about quality plague Arixona's online schools."  The largest online schools in K-12, according to the story, lag the state averages among all Arizona public schools in key benchmarks.  One for-profit company offering K-12 online education in Arizona is Connections Education, a Maryland-based company that operates a national group of virtual schools, according to the report.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

$150,000 In Student Loan Debt . . . And Mounting

story in the Kansas City Star reports on the growing problem of mounting student loan debt -- including more than $150,000 in debt incurred by a young woman in Missouri who attained two degrees at a private college.  According to the article, although for-profit schools comprise about 10 percent of all federal loans, they are responsible for about half of all defaulters.

For Profit Colleges Spent Heavily To Water Down New Regulations

The New York Times reports that the for-profit college industry spent more than $16 million to lobby the Obama Administration for watered-down regulations that threatened to strip for-profit schools for eligibility for federal student loans if their schools failed to meet standards relating to graduates' gainful employment.  The lobbying effort was backed by officials connected to Kaplan University and University of Phoenix, among others.

If you have a concern about a for-profit college's enrollment or placement practices, contact The Googasian Firm, P.C., 1-877-540-8333.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Texas Wrestles With Unaccredited Schools

The New York Times reports on the growing presence of unaccredited schools in Texas due to a little-publicized 2007 court decision involving a religious institution. According to the report, "Critics of the decision say it may have opened the door to turning Texas into a breeding ground for unrelated diploma mills, with institutions allowed to grant degrees without approval from the state or a recognized accrediting body."