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For-profit Higher Education
It has been 17 years since Mr. Graves and another former ITT employee brought a suit alleging that the company had systematically violated the law governing compensation of sales representatives.
An emphasis on empowering the middle class translated to a zeroing in on accountability and access, with mixed results
For-profit colleges may be playing defense in the public perception, but they have not given up their offensive game, if their recent contributions to Congress are any indication. For-profit education colleges and trade groups donated more than $1.4 million to federal candidates, parties and elected officials during the first eight months of 2016, according to the most recent tally by the Center for Responsive Politics. Lobbyists for the sector spent an additional $2.6 million.
Knowledge Universe businesses included early-childhood learning centers, for-profit K–12 schools, online M.B.A. programs, IT-training services for working professionals, and more. Milken’s penchant for secrecy makes a comprehensive assessment impossible—most of the businesses were privately held and some were sold to private buyers for undisclosed sums. But of the companies about which there is public information, most, like LeapFrog, ended badly. Education remains untransformed.
More than a dozen small colleges that have been relying on a Silicon Valley company called Rafter as the sole supplier of textbooks and other course materials are now scrambling to find an alternative after learning this week that Rafter’s investors had pulled the plug on the company and shut it down on Friday.
Academic Analytics combs various databases to supply universities with details on the research activity of their faculty. The company does not now believe that institutions should use its information to make individual personnel decisions, said a spokeswoman, Tricia Stapleton. Instead, Ms. Stapleton said, data from Academic Analytics should just be one element among many pieces of information that university leaders use to make broad assessments of their schools and departments.
Red Jahncke, president of Townsend Group International, writes: The solution is to require that colleges absorb some of the loss on delinquencies and defaults by their graduates and drop-outs: say, the first 5 percent of losses. And 1 percent to 2 percent of loan amount should be deposited with the Education Department at origination, as collateral.
Nearly 80,000 students of defunct for-profit giant Corinthian Colleges are facing some form of debt collection, even though the U.S. Department of Education unearthed enough evidence of fraud to forgive their student loans, according to an investigation by the staff of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Allysia Finley, assistant editor of OpinionJournal.com, writes: The Obama administration and its progressive friends this month claimed another victory in their war on for-profit colleges when ITT Tech, worn down by a regulatory onslaught, announced its closure on Sept. 6. The collateral damage includes some 8,000 employees left jobless and 40,000 students, including 7,000 veterans.
As second longtime target collapses and enforcement actions pile up, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau becomes key regulator of student loan industry and for-profit higher ed.