forprofit

Ex-President of For-Profit College Says He Was Fired for Helping Homeless Student

The now former president of Vatterott College in Kansas City, Mo., said he was fired after five years of leading the for-profit institution after allowing a homeless student to sleep overnight in the college's library to escape cold weather, according to a Fox affiliate.

Brian Carroll, the former campus president, said earlier this month he opened the institution's library to a student, who also has schizophrenia, after overnight temperatures dropped below zero. The student had been sleeping in a wooded area near the school and had run out of his medication, Carroll told the news station.

Surveillance cameras, which can be viewed remotely from Vatterott's Saint Louis-based management team, show the student didn't steal or damage anything in the library. But Carroll was fired once the Vatterott corporate leaders learned of his actions.

Carroll, who is originally from California, has worked in education for 35 years.

A Vatterott spokeswoman said that college policy precluded her from commenting on a personnel matter.

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Tips for embarking on the job market for the first time (essay)

Christina Berchini provides tips for embarking on the job market for the first time.

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Education Department announces thousands of new loan discharges

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Education Department action helps those who attended Corinthian, as well as ITT Technical Institute and American Career Institute.

Latest Heightened Cash Monitoring List

The Department of Education has released data showing there were 539 institutions placed on heightened cash monitoring as of Dec. 1, meaning they are subject to greater financial oversight than other institutions participating in federal aid programs.

The total number of affected institutions was 10 fewer than the total as of Sept. 1. More than half of those institutions (279) were for-profit colleges or universities. A number of compliance issues can land a college on the list -- most frequently financial responsibility problems and late or missing audit reports, according to the data.

The department began publishing the list in 2015 in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Inside Higher Ed.

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Study: For-Profits Match Similar Nonprofits in Learning Results

Students at for-profit institutions achieve learning results that are similar to those of students who attend comparable nonprofit colleges, according to a new study by the Council for Aid to Education. The study was funded by the for-profits that participated in the research. (Note: This paragraph has been changed from a previous version to add new information about the study’s funding source.)

The council used its Collegiate Learning Assessment to measure learning outcomes in six areas for 624 students from four for-profit higher education systems, which the study does not name, and then compared the scores with those of a matched group of students from 20 unnamed public and private institutions that were selected because they were similar to the for-profits on key measures related to academic performance. The CLA aims to show how students' learning has grown on average between when they entered and when they graduated from an institution.

"In all six comparisons, students at proprietary institutions outperformed the students at the nonproprietary comparison institutions," the study said. "However, in all but one case, the difference in mean scores is too small to be considered statistically significant." Students from the for-profits outperformed their peers at nonprofits to a statistically significant degree on the performance task section, which includes measurements of problem solving and writing.

On average, the students in the sample of for-profit attendees were older and more likely to graduate than those at the comparison nonprofits. "It is possible that some of the above findings could be attributed to one or both of these factors," the study said. "However, if age or graduation rate had a strong effect on CLA+ performance, one would expect that it would influence all three outcomes and not just seniors’ Performance Task scores."

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Federal data show hundreds of vocational programs fail to meet new gainful employment standards

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Hundreds of career-training programs risk losing access to federal student aid funds without improved standing under rule designed to hold institutions accountable for graduates' ability to pay off debt.

Embattled Charlotte School of Law to Reopen

Charlotte School of Law will reopen this semester despite losing access to federal financial aid, The Charlotte Observer reported. The for-profit law school is on probation with its accreditor, the American Bar Association, for problems with its admissions policies, curriculum and bar exam passage rates. Last month the U.S. Department of Education suspended the law school's access to federal aid, citing its accreditation problems and that the school had made misrepresentations to students.

The school last week told students that it would reopen, with classes beginning next week. Without access to federal aid, the school said on its website that students might need to explore "bridge financing" such as private loans.

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ACICS-Accredited Colleges Meet Federal Deadline

The U.S. Department of Education last month finalized its decision to terminate the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, a controversial national accrediting agency that oversaw Corinthian Colleges, ITT and other failed for-profits.

Before the end of December, all remaining ACICS institutions filed paperwork with the department to retain their federal aid eligibility for 18 months while seeking a new accreditor, the department said this week. The roughly 245 colleges collectively received $4.76 billion in federal aid during 2015.

Ted Mitchell, the U.S. under secretary of education, said in an interview that he was encouraged by the transition process so far for ACICS-accredited colleges.

“The institutions are taking their responsibilities seriously,” he said. “We’re working to make this transition as successful as possible.”

Most of the colleges have begun seeking approval from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, a national accrediting agency. Michale McComis, the commission’s executive director, said last week that 180 ACICS-accredited institutions have formally initiated the process. He expects that number to grow to 210 colleges by the end of January.

Some experts on for-profit higher education have predicted that substantial numbers of ACICS-accredited institutions will fail to find a new agency home within 18 months. One higher education lawyer said that challenge remains, and that the department had overplayed its celebration of ACICS institutions successfully completing their federal aid extension paperwork.

Mitchell, however, said the process of getting roughly 245 institutions to sign provisional Program Participation Agreements was complex and required collaboration between the feds and ACICS-approved colleges. The agreements include monitoring and reporting requirements the department said are intended to protect taxpayers and students.

In addition, Mitchell said he was confident that well-run institutions among the group “will have the time to secure accreditation.”

ACICS has sued to block the department’s decision to de-recognize the accreditor. A judge last month denied a request from ACICS for a temporary injunction.

It’s unclear if the incoming Trump administration would be able to overturn the department’s move to eliminate ACICS, or if it would seek to try.

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Two For-Profits Must Pay Restitution to Students

A Minnesota judge this week ruled that Globe University and the Minnesota School of Business, two embattled for-profits, must pay restitution to more than 1,200 defrauded students, reported the Star-Tribune.

The state's attorney general, Lori Swanson, had sued the for-profits, alleging they had misrepresented job opportunities for graduates of their criminal justice programs. A court agreed last September, finding the two institutions had engaged in consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices.

Following that ruling, the U.S. Department of Education last month cut off the flow of federal financial aid to the two for-profits.

The institutions said in a statement that they are considering an appeal. In the meantime, they will continue to work with regulators while winding down academic programs.

"The court’s final order was limited to one program -- criminal justice -- which has not been offered for more than two years and which represented no more than 4 percent of the schools’ overall student population at any given time," the institutions said. "We are disappointed that the court’s findings, based on the testimony of only 16 students, have resulted in such significant harm to the education and degrees of tens of thousands of students and alumni."

Note: This article has been updated from a previous version to add a statement from the two institutions.

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ITT Students Seek Recognition in Bankruptcy Lawsuit

A group of five former ITT Technical Institute students have filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana seeking to be named creditors in the defunct for-profit chain's bankruptcy proceedings.

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Eileen Connor of the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard University, alleges that ITT violated consumer protection laws, engaged in deceptive recruiting practices and enrolled unqualified students to generate revenue from federal and private student loans. It asks to have the case declared a class action and also asks the court to block the for-profit from collecting on private student loans taken out to attend its campuses.

ITT closed its 130 campuses in September, nearly two weeks after the U.S. Department of Education prohibited the for-profit from enrolling new students using federal financial aid. The chain had also been investigated and faced lawsuits from state and federal investigators for years before the shutdown. And its accreditor this summer found it was out of compliance with criteria.

The lawsuit seeks damages for students who allege wrongdoing and aims to strengthen their case for federal student loan discharge.

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