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The for-profit education empire strikes back

with 3 comments

If you haven’t invested in for-profit education, maybe now’s the time. That’s because your representatives in Congress gave the industry a license to print money.

Hidden in a $39.5 billion budget-cutting package (ha!) was the provision that “colleges will no longer be required to deliver at least half their courses on a campus instead of online to qualify for federal student aid,” said The New York Times this week. (Story, TimesSelect req’d; emphasis added.)

Lifting that restriction means that students at online colleges like the University of Phoenix now qualify for federal student aid. That means more of your tax dollars will be flowing into places (opinion follows) where the quality of education might be a wee bit questionable.

The Times points out that lobbyists for the for-profit education industry have become significant arm-twisters and buck-passers (literally!) in D.C. But did they have help?

Says The Times:

Sally L. Stroup, the assistant secretary of education who is the top regulator overseeing higher education, is a former lobbyist for the University of Phoenix, the nation’s largest for-profit college, with some 300,000 students.

Two of the industry’s closest allies in Congress are Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, who just became House majority leader, and Representative Howard P. McKeon, Republican of California, who is replacing Mr. Boehner as chairman of the House education committee.

And the industry has hired well-connected lobbyists like A. Bradford Card, the brother of the White House chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr.

Name an industry — any industry. It will have a big K Street lobbying firm singing sirenlike in the halls of Congress. And its federal regulators will be former top industry executives. Forget what party’s in power; it was like this under any recent president.

I’m just sick of it because under President Bush, it’s so blatant and noxious. But in the meantime, I’m gonna get me some of that UPhoenix stock …


Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

March 3, 2006 at 2:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. This combined with cuts in the amount of federal aid are going to make it harder for those who really need it, and have the desire and drive to use it.
    Welcome to the next step of the dumbing down of America.


    March 3, 2006 at 7:25 pm

  2. Degree for Hire
    What’s interesting to me is that I see students come to college with a consumer mindset: “I am paying for this, therefore you owe me good grades. Whether I really deserve them or not is beside the point because *I* think I deserve them.”
    I’m unsurprised that for-profit colleges are gaining more muscle because they cater to that growing student mindset–which means they’re growing in popularity and enrollment.
    Ultimately, it boils down to what you want out of college: Is it about the degree or is it about the knowledge? Giving federal student aid to for-profit colleges is like throwing money at mercenaries.


    March 4, 2006 at 3:57 am

    • Re: Degree for Hire
      Maybe, and I have to admit that I hesitated before posting this view, it’s time to institute some kind of program between High school and College. The goal of the program would be to give the prospective college student a real world view.
      When I went to a community college right out of High School, I practically failed out, or at least I should have. I left with a .19 GPA.
      After my time seeing what the real world is all about, I figured out that I needed more knowledge to make my little plot in the grand scheme of life a success.
      I now have a 3.04 GPA. I think I owe a lot of that to the time I spent in the military.
      Maybe there needs to be a program that says a high school grad must spend two years in some sort of a service. THIS IS NOT AN ADVOCATION FOR COMPULSORY MILITARY SERVICE.
      Maturity and experience are the best way to get rid of the problems you so aptly described, cwmackowski.


      March 6, 2006 at 2:38 pm

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