For-profit colleges swindle students

Education comes second to institutional income at a steep price

Congress's shrillest voices on waste refuse to even look at the industry. Despite sitting on the Senate committee examining for-profit fraud, Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has expressed no curiosity about this money pit. Nor have fellow committee members Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) or deficit hawk John McCain (R-Arizona). Not one responded to repeated interview requests for this story.

President Obama has stepped into the breach, though with customary timidity. In July, the Department of Education made it once again unequivocally illegal to base salespeople's pay on enrollment. But other reforms were so watered down they were meaningless. Taxpayers should probably be thankful Obama did anything at all. At hearings last year, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) called the schools' efforts the most intense lobbying campaign he'd seen in his 32 years in Washington.

To truly appreciate how weak the final regulations are, consider this: The day they were revealed, for-profit stocks soared. The stock prices of EDMC and ITT Tech in particular increased by 20 percent. In one day.

Barmak Nassirian, former official with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers: "Over-advertise, oversell, overcharge, and under-deliver. They found a system where the pitch goes to one guy and the bill to someone else."
courtesy of Barmak Nassirian
Barmak Nassirian, former official with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers: "Over-advertise, oversell, overcharge, and under-deliver. They found a system where the pitch goes to one guy and the bill to someone else."
Rick Kriseman, a Florida State representative, represented Mary in her suit against Argosy University: "When the school did not have those [internship] slots, they found reasons to either dismiss the students or to make it so uncomfortable for them that they left on their own accord."
courtesy of Rick Kriseman
Rick Kriseman, a Florida State representative, represented Mary in her suit against Argosy University: "When the school did not have those [internship] slots, they found reasons to either dismiss the students or to make it so uncomfortable for them that they left on their own accord."

The government ignores the problem at the country's peril. Total student loan debt, now over $1 trillion, has surpassed credit card debt. These burdens will limit students' ability to contribute to our consumer economy for years to come. Worse, unlike an underwater mortgage, Congress has made it illegal for people to walk away from student loans they can't pay. The debt will follow them the rest of their lives.

"This is basically a parasitic industry that is preying upon not just some of the most vulnerable members of our society, but the best of these most vulnerable members, people who listen to the rhetoric we feed them and who are actually attempting to better themselves," says Nassirian. "This is an industry that takes people's hopes and dreams and cashes them out."

And they won't stop until they've emptied the till.

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7 comments
SomeGuy1034
SomeGuy1034

This article has to be the worst piece of one-sided journalism I've read in a long time! 

Having attended Argosy I feel I can speak to the education I received.  It would appear the author specfically found stuents who are disgruntled with their educational experience no matter the thousands of others who are quite happy with the education they have received. 

The people speaking out here can say anything they like about their experience... including lie... because it makes for more emotional reading!  It gets you riled up and feeling anti-for-profit school!

The schools, of course, cannot defend themselves because, by law, they cannot disclose any student information.  So for-profit schools make nice easy target for bored jouranalists looking to bump up the drama factor for their news rag.  For all anyone knows, these students could have been lazy, never studied, spent their financial aid on a new stereo, big screen tv, bought a new wardrobe... whatever.  But, the school is still guilty. Not the students! 

 

It's funny how accountability always falls on someone else and not you.  Same old story... "It's not MY fault!  It's THEM!  I'm innocent!"  We'll never get the real story... half the remarks made here about these school are halve truths as well!

 

You get from an education what you put into it.  You don't have to put effort into anything in life and still pass.... DUH! I know a good chunck of people at the U of M right now who pass their classes by going to homework sites to have their papers done for them... but of course it's a non-profit school so the education is much better!  

If you want something genuine out of any education... you put effort into it!  Don't blame the school... it falls to the student!

 

Every instructor I've ever had at Argosy was extemely intelligent, well versed, and taught with dedication and passion. The work required was on par with other institutions I've attended as well.  Having graduated from a Big Ten school I can say the education I recieved at Argosy was just as valuable and even more flexible in many ways. I never felt under challenged or that my grade was just "given" to me.  I never felt like I was being pressured into getting more financial aid than I needed.  I never felt pressured to enroll at Argosy either.  Everyone was very genuine and accommodating.   It's easy to report on something you know little to nothing about and make it look like it's crap for the sake of publicity.  (Like a bully picking on a kid they know can't fight back!)

 

Even the comments below are from people who have absolutely ZERO knowledge of the schools or the industry.  They read this article and immediately assigned blame and passed judgement without ever having met someone who attended, talked to the shool or a student enrolled. 

It's funny how non-profit schools follow the exact same proceedures for student financial aid, students acquire the same if not more amount of debt, but now are somehow immune to this criticism.  Is it because there are investors on one end that makes student debt that much different?

 

For-profit schools are not bad like this author what's everyone to believe and the education they provide is just as good, if not better than many non-profit schools!

 

This article is just depressing!

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

Having graduated from two top Universities (Lehigh and Penn State) with degrees in Engineering and Computer Science, I fell qualified to judge these ‘for profit’ schools.

 

Having direct experience with (and interviewing many of their graduates), I can say that many of the graduates are not college material, and they didn’t receive a ‘real education’.

 

There’s something about ‘going to school’, getting immersed in the subject.   Yes, there are parties and good times, but there is an environment to being in school.  You get something more in your head than a collection of facts.

 

The one thing that’s been proven here:  College is not meant to be a vo-tech.

 

For profit schools exist for four reasons: 

 

#1.  The mistaken reason that everyone should go to college.

 

#2.  Because of #1 our government is going to give anyone who has a pulse – a student loan.  A loan that cannot be discharged by bankruptcy.  A loan that will live with them probably till they’re 40 or 50 or death.

 

#3.  The student loans became the lifeblood of For Profit schools.

 

#4.  The economy is so bad that people are willing to try anything – including getting $25,000 to $40,000 in debt for a $12/hr job.   When you realize the job market is saturated, and these jobs don’t pay a liveable wage – well “your gonna carry that weight for a long time “(the Beatles).

 

We used to call these schools: “high school with ash trays” or “clown college of comic book knowledge”.  But hell, you can’t even smoke anymore.

 

Get a culinary arts degree?  How about TSA?   Criminal Justice (security guard), Medical Coding, Veterinary assistant?  

 

Twenty years ago all of these jobs were for HS graduates, now you’re going to get a ‘degree’.   But read that degree carefully:  Most if not all of those credits are non-transferrable, the school prints those degrees in the same way our government now prints money.

 

It's obvious the commercials are aimed at 'trailer trash' or 'ghetto' folks, whom they will help apply for a student loan.

mikehext
mikehext

These scammers need to be PUT OUT OF BUSINESS.

SomeGuy1034
SomeGuy1034

Education from Penn State, huh?  Are you a child molestor too?  I mean... I'm applying the same logic you are in your points.  Your non-profit education seems to have really prepared you to comment on something you don't understand.

mikehext
mikehext

and every single student they've ripped off need to be paid back WITH interest.

draconis36
draconis36

 @mikehext Not only should these schools be put out of business, but those who created and perpetuated this fraud knowingly should be put behind bars. There's a reason we have jails.

 
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