The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) has changed its name to Career Education Colleges and Universities. The governing board for the group, which is the for-profit sector's primary trade association, voted for the change Monday in Orlando, Fla., where the association is holding its annual meeting. Six years ago, APSCU was dubbed the Career College Association.
Many colleges and companies in the for-profit sector have struggled with slumping enrollments and revenue, while several face investigations or lawsuits from states and federal agencies. APSCU also has been buffeted by the industry's problems, announcing last year that big changes were on the way -- beyond the name change. For example, the new CECU said it will court nonprofit colleges as members (a handful of nonprofits currently belong to the group).
The rebranded group will seek to represent any college that works on career education, said Steve Gunderson, CECU's president and CEO.
"Our sector and our association will be even more focused on career education and the necessary work in government relations, leadership, research and communications," he said in a written statement. "We will be the voice and vision of postsecondary career education.”
The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools today will announce a temporary halt in accepting new applications for colleges seeking to become accredited, as well as several other changes, including requirements seeking to ensure more accuracy in self-reported data from member colleges.
The council is a national accrediting agency that oversees many for-profit institutions. It's been under fire lately, due in part for accrediting Corinthian Colleges until the large chain collapsed amid a spate of lawsuits and regulatory challenges. A group of state attorneys general have called on the federal government to drop its recognition of ACICS, as have a coalition of consumer, higher education and labor organizations. The U.S. Department of Education is slated to consider the accreditor's recognition later this month.
ACICS appears to be taking the threat seriously. Albert Gray, the council's president and CEO, stepped down in April. And the accreditor shortly thereafter tightened the screws on ITT Technical Institutes.
“The ACICS Board of Directors is determined to restore trust and confidence in the accreditation process, strengthen ACICS’ oversight of member institutions and ensure that students are receiving a quality education that will put them on [a] path to employment,” Anthony Bieda, the council's executive in charge, said in a written statement. “As we assess the content, structure and effectiveness of all policies and resources, no stone will be left unturned. Every aspect of the agency must be re-evaluated, fortified and enhanced.”
The freeze on new member applications is effective immediately, Bieda said, and will be in place until the accreditor "is satisfied that its program of assessment and review protects student interests, enforces high standards of quality and contributes to the public good."
Other announced changes include:
Creation of an ethics board to act directly on potential conflicts of interest, including with ACICS board members;
A new data integrity standard that gives ACICS greater explicit authority to sanction programs and institutions that misrepresent their performance through student retention, placement and licensure data;
A review of institutions’ written plans for recruiting and admitting students;
Greater public disclosure and enforcement of probation standards; and
An increase in the frequency and intensity of interim on-site evaluations.
Graduate assistants at Portland State University have formed a union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors, they announced this week. The university said in a statement that it recognizes the students’ right to organize and has remained neutral on the issue under the law. The administration plans to “negotiate pay and benefits for graduate assistants as it currently does for other represented groups,” it said.
Only 40 percent of college seniors say their experience in college has been very helpful in preparing them for a career, according to the results of a survey by McGraw-Hill Education. Students majoring in arts and humanities are more than three times as likely as other students to say they feel “not at all prepared” for their careers (18 percent compared to less than 6 percent of all other students), according to the survey.
The third annual version of McGraw-Hill's workforce readiness survey found a rise in the perceived importance of preparing for careers in college. While students report that they are increasingly satisfied with their overall college experience (79 percent in 2016 compared to 65 percent in 2014), an increasing percentage said they would have preferred their schools to provide:
More internships and professional experiences (67 percent in 2016 compared to 59 percent in 2014).
More time to focus on career preparation (59 percent compared to 47 percent).
Better access to career preparation tools (47 percent compared to 38 percent).
More alumni networking opportunities (34 percent compared to 22 percent).
The survey also queried students about whether they would have chosen a different college path if community college were free, with some of the responses below:
New Jersey's comptroller's office has issued a report finding that Kean University violated state rules when it purchased a $219,000 Chinese-made conference room table without competitive bidding or state approval, NorthJersey.com reported. In fact, the comptroller's office found that the university spent even more money -- $250,000 -- than had been previously reported. The university released a statement criticizing the report and saying that Kean had “acted legally and with transparency throughout the process.”