Education Management Corporation, a large for-profit chain, last week announced layoffs of 200 employees in the online division of its Art Institute of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazettereported. The company has struggled with slumping revenue and enrollments in recent years, as well as federal and state lawsuits and investigations. Last year it announced the closure of 15 of 52 campus locations of the Art Institutes. The new layoffs represent 3 percent of the company's 20,000-employee workforce, EDMC said.
General Assembly, the largest of the skills boot camp providers, today released a public framework for measuring student outcomes. Boot camps are not accredited. And while many claim job-placement rates of more than 90 percent, those numbers typically are not verified by outside groups. But Skills Fund, a student lender for boot camps, and other players are seeking to play that role.
To design its standards for reporting and measuring student success, General Assembly worked with two major accounting firms to craft an approach public companies use to measure nonfinancial metrics such as social impact and environmental sustainability.
"Our goal is to start a conversation about outcomes predicated on the use of consistent definitions and the application of a rigorous framework and methodology," the company said. "Over time, we hope to develop new measures of return on education that consider income or other criteria that can be used by students and other stakeholders to understand student success in even more specific and granular ways."
Gigats.com is an education lead-generation company based in Orlando, Fla., that claims to prescreen job applicants for employers. However, the company was instead gathering information for for-profit colleges and career training programs, according to the FTC.
The federal agency alleges that consumers who provided Gigats with personal information typically requested in a job application were directed to call "employment specialists" who steered consumers to enrolling in education programs that paid Gigats for consumer leads.
"The FTC alleges that these so-called advisers falsely claimed to be independent education advisers but in fact only recommended schools and programs that had agreed to pay the defendants, typically from $22 to $125, for consumer leads that met their enrollment requirements," according to a news release.
A proposed court order imposes a $90.2 million judgment that will be suspended upon payment of $360,000. Gigats is operated by Expand Inc., which also does business as EducationMatch and SoftRock Inc.
Apollo Education Group shareholders will have more time to vote on a proposed change in ownership for the parent company of the University of Phoenix.
The vote, which was scheduled to take place today, has been delayed until May 6 to give shareholders more time to make their decision. The proposal would sell the company to a consortium of private investors for $1.1 billion.
Of the votes that have come in so far, "nearly 58 percent voted for the proposed transaction," according to an Apollo news release.
"We are gratified that the shareholders who voted in favor of the transaction recognized that this offer represents the best available outcome," said Greg Cappelli, chief executive officer of Apollo, in a statement.
In a letter to shareholders on Tuesday, the company recommended they vote in favor of the proposal. If they didn't, the company would explore other options, including selling Phoenix separately.
A New York judge ruled Tuesday that the state's attorney general's case against Trump University will go to trial, according to an ABC News affiliate.
Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, could testify at the trial, which could be held this fall.
The case is part of an ongoing lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, which alleges that Trump University made false and deceptive claims to students. The unaccredited institution didn't operate as a traditional school or job training program, but more of an opportunity for students to seek advice from purported experts in real-estate and business.
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.”