“[T]he once wildly profitable for-profit education sector is for the birds.”

Good and totally predictable news. But meanwhile a lot of people got hurt (those paying back pointless loans continue to get hurt), and a lot of taxpayers got taken.

Of course the industry continues to take our taxes and put suckers in debt. But it’s definitely, finally, going south.

For-Profit Education in America: It’s exactly like a sausage.

Bridgepoint Education, a for-profit online school that has been under scrutiny for what Mr. Miller, the Iowa attorney general, called “unconscionable sales practices,” turned to [a lobbying firm] to set up meetings with [Florida Attorney General Pam] Bondi’s staff, to urge her not to join in the inquiries underway in several states. Again, her office decided not to take up the matter, citing the small number of complaints about Bridgepoint it has received.

You do not want to know what goes into it.

“While none of the major predatory for-profit college companies — University of Phoenix, EDMC, Corinthian, Kaplan, CEC, etc. — have a frontman as publicly odious as Donald Trump, their abuses and harms go much deeper than those of Trump University.”

Predatory, odious, our next president, and currently dealing with his namesake university being dragged through the mud, first by the New York Attorney General, and now by a judge:

This week, a judge found Donald Trump liable for operating a get-rich-quick school, the erstwhile Trump University, without a license. The case was originally brought against Trump by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office, which, according to the Daily News, alleged that Trump University had “ripped off 5,000 students nationwide by promising to make them rich when instead they were steered into costly and mostly useless seminars.”

While he’s already been held liable for the university’s operation, Trump will now go to trial to see if he’s also liable for defrauding the students.

Can’t wait for the trial.

For-Profit Online University…

… a grand new American tradition.

Two former professors who are suing the for-profit Phoenix School of Law claim that administrators “propos[ed] curriculum changes that would make it more difficult for students to transfer to another law school and retain their credits, a change that …

Dean Shirley Mays allegedly described as ‘building a better mousetrap.'”

Wow. If true, Dean Mays certainly has a way with words.

Chilean students have done a better job than American students of noticing how cheesy for-profit universities…

… are taking their money and leaving them uneducated and unemployable. Chile’s totally filthy for-profit university sector has now been outed; and though I’m sure – as with all diploma mills – the owners will lie low for a bit and come back again filthier than ever, the forced resignation of Chile’s justice minister is certainly good news.

The resignation of Teodoro Ribera on Monday was the latest in an unfolding saga that has prompted massive street demonstrations, criminal investigations and the jailing of a dean suspected of money laundering and a former government official accused of selling university accreditations.

Same deal as in the States: Pay bribes to get your website accredited as a school and instantly start stashing away state cash. If you have a physical campus:

[Structure] deals with property developers who … build the educational institutions then rent them back to the university. The monthly rent – often paid to members of the same university management team – [is] used to strip money from the institution.

And – hey look! It’s the guys who own the University of Phoenix!

Further revelations … led the Chilean government to announce on Tuesday an investigation into possible violations of regulations by two more universities including UNIACC University, owned by Apollo Global, which according to the company website is “a $1bn joint venture formed in 2007, 80.1% owned by Apollo Group Inc and 19.9% owned by a private equity firm, the Carlyle Group”.

“[As] the truth catches up with the major for-profit colleges, it appears these companies are doubling down on a Mitt Romney victory as their last best hope to retain unquestioned access to a torrent of taxpayer money.”

To be sure, a few cynical Democratic lawmakers still support the government-funded for-profit college scam (put for-profit in my search engine for background). But as the industry’s greed, and criminal neglect of students’ educations, becomes common knowledge, it’s mainly Republicans – famously contemptuous of financial dependency on the government – who continue to whomp themselves up for an industry almost wholly bankrolled by federal dollars.

As David Halperin notes, a Republican victory in November is probably the industry’s last chance to salvage its basic model (enroll everyone; use their federal education money for your executives’ salaries; watch everyone drop out and spend the rest of their lives trying to pay back loans; find new suckers). Even with Republicans running the country, the for-profits may be unable to reverse the collapse of their sickening sector, one of the few surviving instances of pure exploitation of the weak by the strong, the masses by the elites.

Gawker Gawks at the Collapse of the For-Profit College Scam…

and so does UD. As Phoenix falls from its ashes, and as even scuzzier outfits make their way through the courts, it truly begins to look as though Americans have figured out how the tax-syphons work, and refused to play along.

A comic strip reduces America’s for-profit-education tax-syphon …

… to its most basic moving parts.



Two academic men in suits chat. Looks like Harvard Yard in the background.

So the for-profits mop up $32 billion in taxpayer money a year, even though a majority of students quickly drop out!

And for presiding over these empires of failure, the average for-profit CEO is paid over $7 million!

— 7 million? Seriously?


— Does it come with balloons and a 4-foot check?

No, I imagine it’s a discreet transfer of wealth.


UD thanks Dirk.

For-profit online universities. Why are there so many?

Because anyone can do it!

At a For-Profit College, a Reward…

… for a job well done.

“If a student does not make payments on their federal loans and the loans default, the federal government and taxpayers pick up the tab, meaning that the taxpayers essentially subsidize the private equity funds and investors who own the college. According to the GAO, four years after borrowers started to repay their federal loans, 23.3 percent at for-profit schools defaulted, compared to 9.5 percent at public schools.”

What a system!

You need to look at the nuts and bolts of free enterprise here in the States to fully appreciate it.

A discussion of for-profit colleges…

… will take place today on WBUR.

Christopher Beha’s adventures at Click-Thru U will be featured.

You need a subscription to Harper’s magazine to read what I just linked to; but here is the same author reflecting on what he’s learned.

[I]n broad social terms good educational outcomes follow from equality and not the other way around… [Thus,] the current prominence of Phoenix and other for-profit schools paints an even sadder picture than Phoenix’s critics might have thought. A society that can’t increase its roll of college graduates without sending billions of dollars in grants and loans to proprietary schools has problems that will not be fixed by the classroom.


UD thanks Dirk for the heads-up.

“The biggest fraud, along with the most significant efforts to combat it, seems to have occurred at Axia College, a two-year program of the University of Phoenix, the nation’s largest for-profit institution. Officials there have identified — and referred to the inspector general — some 750 rings involving 15,000 people.”

Your tax dollars at work.

“Carnegie Learning was acquired in August for $75 million by the parent of the for-profit University of Phoenix.”

There’s a beautiful synergy in play at Click-Thru U. Keep elementary, secondary, and then of course university students in front of computers and expensive software all the days of their lives, until they don’t even know that education used to mean human teachers and classrooms full of human beings discussing, questioning, scoffing, yawning, laughing… The jostle of real life, real encounters; the unscripted moments when, prompted or provoked by a brilliant lecture or an intense verbal exchange, you perceive something you never perceived before… when you come to knowledge as it lives its life, as it restlessly evolves, in a classroom with a passionate lecturer and focused students…

This is what the Click-Thrus will never know. All they will know is a continuation into schooling of the screen life they live outside the classroom. Theirs is all one seamless daily experience – Facebook, Gchat, texting, algebra, history, Facebook, Gchat, texting. No change of scene. No talking out loud. You want to say something, hit the keyboard. Feel something? Tap an emoticon.

The synergy in this post’s headline should surprise no one – the process by which the parent of for-profit Click-Thru U scoops up all the software and makes it possible for every American student to experience an entirely digitalized education is well underway. As the Powerpointed, laptopped, clickered classroom becomes intolerably pointless for everyone, the software will be there waiting.

Of course the software isn’t teaching anyone anything much, as the New York Times, reviewing the studies, reports. But the United States is such a rich county, with such a booming economy, that it doesn’t really need educated people.

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