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Bridgepoint Cuts 450 Jobs in Admissions

Bridgepoint Education Inc. announced Monday that its Ashford University has eliminated 450 positions in admissions and reassigned 400 other admissions employees, half to student services and half to a new department of "student inquiry." The moves are aimed at improving student success, the company said. Ashford is facing a two-pronged accreditation challenge. It is attempting to comply with compliance requests from its current regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, following a rejected bid for accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges senior college commission.

Ashford says the department of student inquiry will "work with prospective students to ensure they are sufficiently prepared for the demands of a university education."

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Grand Canyon Lands Campus in Massachusetts

The owners of the Hobby Lobby craft store chain on Friday announced that they would give a 217-acre former high school campus in western Massachusetts to the foundation for Grand Canyon University, a for-profit Christian institution. Grand Canyon will open a second on-ground campus at the site, adding to its growing campus in Phoenix and a relatively large online presence. The company hopes to enroll 5,000 students at the new campus by 2018, investing an estimated $150 million in it over five years.

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House Passes Bill on Transparency for Education of Veterans

The U.S. House of Representatives this week passed legislation requiring the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to require more transparency from colleges that serve students who are veterans. The bill calls for counseling of students and ways to track feedback on the quality of academic programs. Some for-profit institutions, including the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities and the University of Phoenix, supported the bill.

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Justice Dept. Joins Complaint Against For-Profit Chain

The U.S. Justice Department announced last week that it is joining a whistle-blower lawsuit against ATI Enterprises Inc., which owns a chain of for-profit career colleges in Texas. State authorities have already revoked the licenses for some of the programs to operate. The government's complaint alleges that ATI misrepresented job placement statistics in order to keep state approval in place.

Further, the complaint states that that "ATI employees at the three campuses knowingly enrolled students who were ineligible because they did not have high school diplomas or recognized equivalents; falsified high school diplomas, including five Dallas Independent School District diplomas for students who later defaulted on their federal student loans; fraudulently kept students enrolled even though they should have been dropped because they had poor grades or attendance; and made knowing misrepresentations to students about their future employability.   The alleged misrepresentations included telling students that a criminal record would not prevent them from getting jobs in their fields of study, quoting higher salaries than the students would be likely to earn and reporting inflated job placement statistics both to the students and the Texas Workforce Commission."

ATI officials could not be reached for comment.

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Newt U. runs on Kaplan platform from GOP convention

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Newt Gingrich teaches Newt U. from GOP convention, and the classes are streamed online by KAPx, a new MOOC platform from Kaplan.

Student debt and for-profit issues largely absent in Tampa

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Higher education got plenty of notice in the GOP's presidential platform. Not so much at the convention, either from Republicans, students or protesters.

Study Tracks 2-Year Degrees From For-Profits

Students who earn associate degrees from for-profit colleges see substantial earnings returns and, in some cases, outperform their peers who hold two-year degrees from community colleges, according to a new research paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research. However, students who drop out of two-year degree tracks at for-profits fare worse in the labor market than do their counterparts at community colleges, found the study, which was authored by Stephanie Riegg Cellini, an assistant professor of public policy at George Washington University, and Latika Chaudhary, an assistant professor of economics at Scripps College.

Kelly and Schneider on the completion agenda

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A new book of essays takes stock of where "completion agenda" stands. The volume's editors talk about key lessons from the still nascent college completion push.

Poll: Obama v. Romney on Education Policy

A newly released poll of influential types, including lawmakers, gave President Obama better marks than Mitt Romney on education policy. The poll, which was conducted by Whiteboard Advisors, an education consulting firm, focused mostly on K-12 issues. However, it found that a Romney administration probably would not seek to substantially revise student aid policies. Respondents also said for-profit colleges should be somewhat concerned about a second term for Obama.

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Ohio's Chancellor U. Faces Loss of Accreditation

Four years after investors stepped in to stave off the death of Myers University, which has educated adults in Cleveland since the 1850s, the institution -- now called Chancellor University -- once again faces an existential threat, this time at the hands of its regional accreditor. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools voted in late June to put Chancellor on "show cause" status, meaning that the institution will be shut down if its officials cannot persuade the accreditor within a year that it has ameliorated the agency's concerns, which relate to weak finances, conflicts of interest and poor student retention.

It has been a bumpy few years for the institution since 2008, when the Higher Learning Commission granted permission for Myers' buyers (led by the high-profile investor Michael Clifford) to transform it into Chancellor. Clifford had grand plans, including the naming of the institution's management school for Jack Welch, the former head of General Electric. (The management school has since been sold to another for-profit institution, Strayer University.) But it wasn't long before the institution was back in turmoil; in February 2010, the Higher Learning Commission gave it a show cause order, but the commission concluded by February 2011 that the institution had addressed its concerns. But quarterly reports filed by the institution triggered new concerns last February, leading to the new show cause order.

Chancellor University officials told Crain's Cleveland Business that the institution would get through the current crisis as it did two years ago. “Every member of the leadership team and the board of trustees would swear in a court of law, on the Bible and the U.S. Constitution that this institution is significantly better than it was when it got off show-cause” last time, President Robert Daugherty told the newspaper.
 

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