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For-profit Higher Education
The Maryland Higher Education Commission is cracking down on institutions that provide distance education to students in the state. But the commission has a problem: It doesn’t know who those distance education providers are. The commission last month fired off letters addressed to presidents and provosts of institutions that offer fully online programs (seen at the bottom of this article), asking them to self-report if they enroll students in Maryland.
The for-profit college industry is pressuring the Obama administration to water down proposed new rules that would deny federal student aid to career training programs that saddle students with crippling debt while giving them useless credentials. That’s a potent threat from the government, given that for-profit schools can get as much as 90 percent of their revenue from federal student aid programs. But it doesn’t go far enough.
Thirty-two states are now working together under the leadership of Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway to investigate potential abuses in the for-profit college industry, which saw enrollment more than triple between 1998 and 2008, according to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.
Could attending a for-profit institution actually result in a three-out-of-four-chance of earning less than a high school dropout? The claim seems to overturn the widely-held assertion that college-level education will boost earnings.
Three Congressional Democrats have teamed up on legislation being introduced on Thursday that seeks to improve coordination among the federal agencies that oversee for-profit colleges. The legislation, known as the Proprietary Education Oversight Coordination Improvement Act, is being introduced in the Senate by by Sen. Tom Harkin, the Iowan who is chairman of the chamber’s education committee, and Sen. Richard J. Durbin, of Illinois. The bill is being introduced in the House by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, of Maryland.
American higher education policy has drifted off-course, and what we have now are the diminishing returns, according to a new book by a Cornell University professor of government, Suzanne Mettler. Mettler, who has written in the past about how relatively hidden tax policies are helping to subsidize corporate America, took a look at the landscape of higher education.
Coursera has won powerful allies in higher education by persuading them that it plans to behave more like a university than an investor-backed Silicon Valley company. Now Coursera has taken another step to bolster its academic bona fides. The company announced on Monday that it had hired Richard C. Levin, who led Yale University as president for 20 years, to serve as its chief executive.
s the White House forges ahead with its controversial "gainful employment" rule, the nation’s only for-profit medical school is waging a lonely fight for an exemption from the measure. Officials at Rocky Vista University worry that the proposed rule, which would cut off federal aid to programs whose graduates struggle to repay their debt, will force the college to abandon its mission of producing primary-care doctors, or perhaps put it out of business altogether.
For-profit colleges that wildly exaggerate their graduates' success and talk prospective attendees into taking on extraordinary debt are not only harming their students but costing taxpayers billions of dollars on wasted Pell grants and defaulted federal student loans. After an earlier court defeat, the Obama administration is trying again to set rules to stop schools from overpromising to attract students. This time, the rules should stick.
The Obama administration’s unveiling Friday of a proposed set of rules aimed at clamping down on career education programs, mostly at for-profit colleges is, in some ways, just the latest flashpoint in a years-long battle with the controversial sector of higher education. But the proposed rules also tee up what is expected to be another round of voracious debate and intense lobbying to influence the final regulations that the administration plans to issue by November, so that they will take effect next July.