Submitted by Paul Fain on October 16, 2014 - 3:00am
The relationship between federal policy and the skills gap is misunderstood, according to a new report from the New America Foundation. The paper looks at five "policy gaps" in the Higher Education Act, the law governing federal student aid programs, that could be closed to build stronger connections between learning and work. Those gaps include an excessive focus on institutional and internal indicators of quality; a lack of attention to student employment outcomes; and aid eligibility requirements that fall short of the needs of adult learners, according to the report, which was authored by Mary Alice McCarthy, a senior policy analyst at the foundation who previously worked for the U.S. Department of Labor and the Education Department.
Kaplan University is today unveiling a new "Open College" that is designed to let adult students earn a bachelor of science in professional studies by combining credits they've previously accumulated through prior learning with academic credit they earn taking open courses offered by Kaplan and other providers. OC@KU, as the fledgling institution is called, is the newest entrant in the hunt to create a $10,000 bachelor's degree. In Open College's case, such a goal could be attainable through its mix of prior learning, open courses, and Kaplan-provided assessments to help fill in gaps in learners' accumulated credits.
The CEO and others officials of Fast Train College, a for-profit chain in Florida that closed in 2012, have been indicted on charges of conspiracy and theft of government funds, The Miami Herald reported. The alleged conspiracy involved recruiting students without high school diplomas, enrolling them, and coaching them on how to obtain federal student aid for which they were ineligible. According to the indictment, the college received more than $6 million in this way. Those indicted could not be reached for comment.
A study released Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that the type of college one attends can have an impact on employment odds. The study used fictional résumés to measure the odds of getting a call-back for various jobs, enabling comparison of people with identical backgrounds except for the institutions they attended. Those with a bachelor's degree in business from a for-profit online institution were 22 percent less likely to receive a callback from a potential employer than those who had attended non-selective public institutions. The gap disappears, however, for for-profit institutions that have a physical campus and a strong local presence. An abstract of the study is available here.
Corinthian Colleges said Friday that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether the company defrauded the federal government.
The investigation, under the False Claims Act, concerns “allegations related to student attendance and grade record manipulation, graduate job placement rate inflation and non-Title IV funding source misrepresentations,” the company told investors. The disclosure comes as Corinthian is also facing three criminal probes by the Department of Justice. Federal prosecutors in California, Florida, and Georgia have all issued grand jury subpoenas to the company. Corinthian is also in search of sources of liquidity as it seeks to sell off and close its campuses as part of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education.