Capella Education Co. last week announced the purchase of Hackbright Academy, a nondegree coding boot camp for women, for $18 million. Capella, a publicly traded for-profit chain, said in a written statement that the San Francisco-based Hackbright’s "mission to increase female representation in the tech workforce through education, mentorship and community is a strategic fit with Capella’s focus on providing the most direct path between learning and employment, and Capella’s historic base of largely female students."
The purchase is the fourth major investment by a for-profit in a boot camp, which tend to offer postcollege training in immersive, 12-week sessions that cost around $12,000. Kaplan Inc. two years ago bought Dev Bootcamp. Apollo Education Group made a "significant" investment in the Iron Yard last year. And Strayer Education Inc. bought the New York Code and Design Academy this year.
BMO Capital Markets, which analyzes the for-profit sector, said boot camps could help for-profit chains lessen their reliance on federal financial aid while also reaccelerating the companies' growth.
Wright Career College, a small, Kansas City-based career college chain, closed its five campuses last week and filed for bankruptcy. The college said in a written statement it had sought to bring in an outside group to gradually phase out the campuses, but that effort failed. Wright emailed its students about the closure on Thursday night, The Kansas City Starreported.
The chain included campuses in Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma. It enrolls about 1,400 students, according to federal data.
“We are saddened by these events,” said John Mucci, Wright's president. “From our beginning in 1921 until our closure, we have always operated with the focus of putting the interests of our students first. It is unfortunate our students cannot complete their programs at Wright Career College. I would like to thank our employees for their tireless dedication and commitment in helping our students achieve their educational and career goals.”
The University of Phoenix laid off 470 employees on Tuesday, according to The Arizona Republic. The move comes after Phoenix's parent company, Apollo Group, announced in February that it was in the process of selling the company to a group of private investors for $1.1 billion.
"A significant workforce reduction was announced today in departments across the university. I support the decisions and am gratified by the planning that ensures a seamless student experience with minimal disruption. I am also grateful for the work of our human resources leaders to ensure our colleagues affected by the restructuring receive severance and outplacement services," said Timothy Slottow, president of the for-profit institution, in a statement. "This difficult decision came after careful deliberation and analysis with a focus on streamlined workflow serving fewer students than in years past, improved use of technology and ultimately an approach that ensures our students have the transformative experience that leads to higher retention and improved learning outcomes."
A memo from Yale Law School's Veterans Legal Services Clinic finds that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs had the authority to protect veterans from institutions that use deceptive recruiting practices by denying GI Bill funds to those colleges. But the VA and other state approving agencies have failed to do so.
"Although the VA is responsible for overseeing education benefits for veterans, it has been slow to join other agencies in addressing deceptive practices, drawing criticism from congressional and veterans' leaders," said the memo.
The memo prompted Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, to call on the VA to act against deceptive recruitment by predatory colleges.
“The VA has a clear moral and legal obligation to identify fraudulent behavior at schools that enroll veterans,” said Blumenthal. “The VA should also partner with the Federal Trade Commission and other agencies to crack down on predatory for-profit schools so that veterans do not waste their hard-earned benefits on worthless degrees.”
The Florida Senate and House of Representatives have passed a bill to close a loophole legislators created to allow the state to license unaccredited for-profit degree programs for physical therapy assistants, The Miami Herald reported. The move follows a Herald series that noted that many graduates of the programs were unable to find work and left with large debts.
Nonprofit Zenith Education Group is consolidating or closing 10 more campuses of the former Corinthian Colleges. The chain lost $100 million last year and is making changes to its business model, curriculum and leadership.
A new study featured in this month's edition of American Economic Review found that employers are less likely to accept a job applicant for a business or health job if they have attended a for-profit online institution than they would an applicant from a nonselective public institution.
The researchers submitted a range of fictitious résumés to companies offering entry-level job openings. Some of the résumés were designed to be identical except for the educational history.
The study found that for business job vacancies that require a bachelor's degree, employers' callback rates differed by more than 20 percent in favor of applicants from public institutions as opposed to for-profits. Employers who are hiring for health jobs that don't require a certificate or license also prefer applicants from public institutions over those from for-profits.
A California judge on Wednesday ordered the defunct Corinthian Colleges to pay $1.17 billion because of what he found to be false advertising and other practices that misled students into enrolling and borrowing money to pay tuition, The Los Angeles Times reported. The ruling came in a suit filed by Kamala D. Harris, the California attorney general. The ruling said Corinthian misled students through false statistics about job placement rates and the unlawful use of U.S. military seals in advertisements, among other practices. The ruling calls for Corinthian to pay $820 million to former students and $350 million in civil penalties. It is unclear how much money Corinthian still has.