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Falwell Says He Will Lead Presidential Commission

Jerry Falwell Jr. announced Tuesday that he will lead a presidential task force on higher education, a Liberty University spokesman said, confirming news reports.

Falwell, Liberty's president and an early Trump supporter, said at the inauguration that he would work with the president in an "official capacity," with a focus on limiting micromanagement of colleges and accreditors by the U.S. Department of Education. The task force apparently will seek to address those issues, although Falwell said the details are still being determined.

President Trump is scheduled to meet with him Wednesday to discuss the task force, Falwell said.

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N.Y. Attorney General Settles Lawsuit With DeVry

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office announced a more than $2.25 million settlement with DeVry Education Group. 

The state sued the for-profit institution after an investigation revealed Devry lured students with ads that exaggerated graduates' success in finding employment at graduation and contained inadequately substantiated claims about graduates' salary success. As part of the settlement, DeVry has agreed to pay $2.25 million in consumer restitution and $500,000 in penalties, fees and costs. 

"DeVry used misleading claims to lure in students who were simply seeking a college degree, greatly exaggerating job and salary prospects for graduates," Schneiderman said, in a news release. "I'm pleased that this settlement provides much-desired restitution to students who were misled and requires DeVry to stop its false advertising." 

DeVry reached a similar settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade commission regarding advertising practices in December. 

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Food Drive for Students at For-Profit Law School

Many students at the Charlotte School of Law have been struggling financially, with some unable to buy enough food, since the U.S. Education Department in December stopped the flow of federal aid to the institution, The Charlotte Observer reported. As a result, some professors have organized a food drive for students. Student said that they need the help. “How can we be prepared for class when we can’t feed ourselves?” said Margaret Kocaj, one student. “How can we study when we have headaches because we can’t afford to eat? This is our reality now. There are no words.”

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Accreditor Approves Apollo Group's Sale

Apollo Education Group on Tuesday said its primary accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, had signed off on the company's $1.14 billion sale to a group of three private equity firms.

The expected action by the commission, which accredits Apollo's University of Phoenix, clears the way for the change of ownership. Apollo said it expects the deal to close on Feb. 1.

The U.S. Department of Education approved the sale last month. But the feds added several conditions, including that it will monitor Phoenix's financial stability, graduation and retention rates, recruitment and monthly enrollments.

"The Higher Learning Commission looked deeply and carefully at this application to determine what was in the best interest of current and future students," Barbara Gellman-Danley, the Higher Learning Commission's president, said in a written statement. "We will closely monitor these institutions on a variety of fronts to help ensure the commitments made in the application to work on improving the quality of education and operations are maintained."

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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.

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