Hillary Clinton last week said as president she would seek to crack down on the for-profit college sector's aggressive recruitment of military veterans, the Associated Press reported. The former U.S. secretary of state and current candidate for the Democratic nomination for president said she would push to change the so-called 90/10 rule, which prevents for-profits from receiving more than 90 percent of their revenue from federal sources. Under current regulations, veterans' educational benefits like the Post-9/11 GI Bill do not count toward that 90 percent limit. Clinton said she would seek to eliminate this "loophole," as some of her Democratic colleagues in the U.S. Senate have sought to do several times before, unsuccessfully.
Career Education Corporation, a major for-profit chain, announced Thursday that it is selling Brooks Institute to gphomestay, a company that works on international student programs at high schools and colleges in the U.S.
The California-based Brooks Institute is a visual and media arts institution that offers undergraduate and master's degrees. It enrolls roughly 500 students and has campuses in Santa Barbara and Ventura.
Career Education said last month that it would sell or close everything but its Colorado Technical University and American InterContinental University holdings as part of a broad restructuring and an effort to "rightsize." Colorado Technical and American InterContinental enroll about 34,000 of the company's 45,000 students.
The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell Thursday expressing disappointment in how the federal agency views the for-profit sector in the wake of the department's decision to provide debt relief to former Corinthian Colleges students.
Steve Gunderson, APSCU's president and CEO, wrote, "The challenges facing the students who attended Corinthian Colleges are a direct result of the department's actions targeting private-sector institutions. Institutions of higher education should be held accountable, but any meaningful accountability must be applied across all of higher education."
Gunderson specifically took issue with a blog post from the department that explained options available to Corinthian students.
"I was disappointed that the department used a blog post about debt relief options available for students of a school that has closed to put forth sweeping, biased criticisms of private-sector institutions serving new traditional students," he wrote.
A budget committee of Wisconsin's Legislature last week voted down a proposal by the state's Republican governor, Scott Walker, to eliminate Wisconsin's oversight board of for-profit institutions, the Wisconsin State Journalreported. In February Walker proposed nixing the Educational Approval Board as part of his budget plan. Cutting the small state agency would "decrease the regulatory and fiscal burden" on for-profits, he said at the time.
After the Legislature committee voted down the proposal last week, David Dies, the board's director, said the recent attention has been beneficial. "Ironically I think this whole process has helped create visibility and awareness for the agency," he told the State Journal.
The owner of the defunct Ivy Bridge College has sued the Higher Learning Commission over the institution's demise two years ago. The lawsuit, which Ivy Bridge filed in a federal court last week, alleges that the accreditor unlawfully shut down the college as part of a politically motivated "witch hunt."
Ivy Bridge was an unusual public-private partnership between Tiffin University, a small nonprofit institution located in Ohio, and Altius Education, a Silicon Valley-based education technology company. The two entities paired up to offer online, two-year degrees under the Ivy Bridge brand. It enrolled roughly 3,000 students in 2013.
The commission raised questions about Ivy Bridge's ownership structure, arguing that Altius had too much control of the program. The accreditor, affiliated with the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, also criticized aspects of the academic quality of the degree tracks, although it had praised Ivy Bridge in previous years. Tiffin was forced to withdraw from the partnership as a result of the commission's scrutiny, and Ivy Bridge and Altius collapsed.
Ivy Bridge's lawsuit claims the commission failed to follow its legal standards during its "complete sham" of a crackdown on the partnership. "HLC was under political pressure to kill nontraditional higher education, so that's what it did," the lawsuit said.
The co-owners of the Charleston School of Law said last week that they might not enroll a new class of students in the fall, according to The Post and Courier and other news outlets. The for-profit law school in South Carolina last year was in discussions with InfiLaw System, a for-profit chain, about a possible sale. But state regulators voted down that plan. Last week the school's owners said it was losing money and would struggle to keep its license.
The Oregon Justice Department has ordered Penn Foster College to refund a former student's tuition and to change its claim about accreditation, The Oregonian reported. The former student complained to the department when Portland Community College declined to accept credit he had earned at Penn Foster and told him that the credit was from a national accreditor and that Portland Community College only accepted regionally accredited transfer credits. The former student said that this was inconsistent with what Penn Foster told him, and the agency agreed. Penn Foster denies wrongdoing but did agree to the settlement.
On the college's website today, the statement about accreditation states explicitly that credit may not transfer in all cases. “Penn Foster College is nationally accredited, and our college graduates have been able to gain employment and transfer credits to other colleges and universities upon completion of our degree programs,” the statement says. “However, these decisions are up to the discretion of the colleges, universities or individual employers, and students should check with those entities to determine if they will be able to transfer credits or use their degree in a satisfactory capacity. No form of accreditation guarantees that any learning institution will accept credits from any school as transfer credits.”