The California attorney general's office went to court Wednesday to seek to force Bridgepoint Education to turn over many documents, the Associated Press reported. The documents cover information about marketing, sales, and academics. The attorney general's office has been investigating reports of false advertising by some for-profit colleges, and officials said that Bridgepoint had failed to turn over the requested documents. A Bridgepoint spokeswoman declined to comment.
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Wednesday approved legislation that would prevent the U.S. Department of Education from drafting new "gainful employment" rules this fall. The bill, which some Democrats backed, would also repeal state authorization and federal credit hour regulations. If passed by the House and Senate, which is unlikely, the legislation would prevent the department from revisiting those issues until it renews the Higher Education Act.
Several major higher education groups endorsed the bill, including the American Council on Education. They said the legislation would eliminate burdensome regulations. The primary trade group representing for-profit colleges also supported it. However, some consumer protection groups and other higher education organizations came down on the other side. Rep. John Kline, the Minnesota Republican who chairs the committee, said he hopes the full House will vote on the legislation in coming weeks.
The legislation is unlikely to move in the Democratic-controlled Senate, though.
Leaders of the Pac-12 Conference's member universities have written the National Collegiate Athletic Association to question whether for-profit institutions should be allowed to participate in Division I athletics, according to CBSSports.com. The inquiry follows the transition of Grand Canyon University, a publicly traded for-profit, to Division I, which began last month. Grand Canyon is joining the Western Athletic Conference, where its men's and women's basketball teams will compete.
The Pac-12 CEOs did not specifically criticize Grand Canyon's jump to the big time. Instead they said they wanted to share their broader concerns about institutions that are responsible to investors participating in Division I. Larry Scott, the league's commissioner, told the website that Pac-12 universities had discussed not playing Grand Canyon in any sport. The league includes Arizona State University, which is near Grand Canyon's campus.
The University of Phoenix's regional accreditor has placed the for-profit institution "on notice," a lesser sanction than the probation recommended by a site team earlier this year, the university's holding company said Wednesday. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools determined that governance and administrative problems could lead to the university being out of compliance within two years. The university said it had submitted updated information to the commission about changes it made after receiving the site team's report.
WASHINGTON -- The leading Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and its higher education subcommittee introduced a bill Wednesday to repeal four controversial Education Department regulations -- including two that aren't currently being enforced. The bill, the Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act, would repeal the gainful employment and state authorization regulations, both of which the Education Department is not enforcing after court action and plans to rewrite in an upcoming round of rule-making. The bill would also block that attempt to rewrite the regulations, forbidding rule making in these areas until after the Higher Education Act is reauthorized.
The embattled Chancellor University will close in August, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Chancellor, a for-profit institution located in Cleveland, enrolled fewer than 250 students earlier this year and planned to drop its regional accreditation in the fall. The university was formed in 2008 when a group of investors, led by Michael Clifford, purchased Myers University, a struggling private nonprofit institution. Chancellor later landed Jack Welch, the former chairman and CEO of General Electric Co., to help run the university's management school. But Strayer University subsequently purchased the Jack Welch Management Institute.
A federal appeals court on Monday reinstated a federal False Claims Act lawsuit brought against ITT Educational Services, Inc. by a former enrollment official. A federal judge in Indiana dismissed the suit against the for-profit higher education provider last year, saying the court did not have jurisdiction because the plaintiffs in the case were not the original source of the allegations against the company, as is required under the false claims law. The court also slapped the plaintiffs with nearly $400,000 in fines for having brought, in the judge's words, a "frivolous" lawsuit.
A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit sharply disagreed Monday. The appeals panel agreed that the False Claims Act -- in which parties sue companies or others on behalf of the federal government, claiming that the defendants have defrauded the treasury of funds and hoping to be joined by the U.S. Justice Department -- requires a suing party to come forward with allegations that were not previously in the public domain. But the Seventh Circuit court concluded that the charges made by Debra Leveski, the former employee at an ITT campus in Michigan, differed sufficiently from previously disclosed information about the company that the case can appropriately be heard by the federal court.
In directing the lower court to consider the case, and in at least temporarily reversing the financial penalties against her lawyer, the court said: "We do not know whether Leveski will ultimately prevail, nor do we state any opinion as to whether Leveski should ultimately prevail. But we do believe that Leveski should be allowed to litigate her case on the merits, and thus, sanctions for bringing a frivolous lawsuit are inappropriate."