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For-profit Higher Education
The Competency-Based Education Network, an effort financed by the Lumina Foundation that is seeking to provide leadership on the development of competency-based degree programs, on Wednesday announced an initial group of participating institutions that includes 18 colleges and two higher-education systems.
In the midst of a passionate discussion about the future of higher education here on Tuesday, one young man stood up and wanted to know if the goal of higher education is to make people productive – or to make them happy. It was an unexpected query for a panel entitled: “Can the liberal arts survive in an age of innovation,’’ and just one of the many dozens of discussions that have been taking place this week at SXSW.edu.
The SmarterBucks program is one of several new efforts by technology firms to use apps, games, and other online financial tools to help motivate consumers to improve their finances, save money, and pay down debt. SmarterBucks, for one, is focused on student debt, offering grads the chance to earn extra money that is applied directly to their loan payments. The site is an offshoot of SimpleTuition, a Boston company that offers consumers student loan comparison tools and information on financial aid.
New York Times economic columnist Eduardo Porter has a piece on February 25, seeking to raise doubts about the Obama administration's proposed "gainful employment" rule. Porter barely references the powerful evidence that major companies in the for-profit college sector are indeed hurting many of their students -- veterans, single mothers, and others struggling to get ahead -- with a toxic mix of high prices and weak programs.
For-profit colleges in many states are lightly regulated, and some have engaged in egregious fraud, including deceptive marketing. They tend to charge higher tuition than community colleges, which get direct funding from states. Their students take on more debt, have a tougher time repaying it and suffer higher unemployment rates. Still, Mr. Jerome makes an important point: Private for-profit institutions are indispensable players in American higher education, filling a gap that other schools neglect. The goal should be to improve the sector, not shrink it.
One needn’t look too far to find alumni of the sector of higher education known as the for-profit colleges. In the happiest scenario, a graduate of one of these programs may show up at your house to repair your air conditioner, or visit your business to deal with a computer problem. Trade schools have their success stories, and they are eager to have us know about them. But too often you’ll find former students staffing the drive-through windows of fast-food restaurants, while shouldering massive amounts of student debt.
Representative Rob Andrews of New Jersey, one of the top Democrats on the House education committee, announced Tuesday that he was resigning from Congress later this month. Andrews told supporters that he was leaving Congress to join a Philadelphia-based law firm. He told The New York Times that his decision had nothing to do with an ethics investigation into his alleged misuse of his campaign funds.
Several companies that own for-profit colleges have recently announced that they are under investigation by more than a dozen state attorneys general. But it’s unclear whether those investigations will put off potential students or investors, and one analyst says a bigger concern for the companies is increasing scrutiny at the federal level.
Community college students who transfer to for-profit institutions tend to earn less over the next decade than do their peers who transfer to public or private colleges. Those are the findings from a study released Monday by the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment, a research center that was created with a federal grant and is housed at the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University’s Teachers College.
Rasmussen College, based in Minnesota, has recently made a transition from a traditional for-profit corporation to a public-benefit corporation, a move that college officials say will increase transparency, accountability, and public service throughout the communities the institution serves.