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Grand Canyon uses online to pay for scholarships and campuses

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Looking like a nonprofit, Grand Canyon University pays for a thriving campus and generous scholarships with a big online program. Will other for-profits copy the model?

Two-year default rates for student loans increase again

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The two-year default rate for federal student loans increased again this year, but defaults at for-profit colleges fell. 

Kaplan to Close 9 Campuses

Kaplan's higher education division announced Friday that it will close nine campuses, The Washington Post (which owns Kaplan) reported. The company did not say why the campuses were being closed, but did recently disclose that an accreditor had recently warned that three campuses might lose recognition. Students currently enrolled in the campuses being closed will be permitted to finish their courses, but new students will not be enrolled.

 

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New Calif. Laws Promote Digital Textbooks, For-Profit Transparency

Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed legislation Thursday designed to give college students free digital access to textbooks in 50 popular lower-division courses offered by the state's public universities and colleges, and another bill Wednesday that requires significantly greater reporting of information by for-profit colleges in the state. The textbook legislation will, according to the Los Angeles Times, also make print copies of the key textbooks available for no more than $20.
 

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U.S. Audit Finds Student Aid Irregularities at Career Education Unit

Colorado Technical University improperly awarded financial aid dollars to dozens of students, the U.S. Education Department's inspector general said in an audit this month. The audit, whose findings were challenged by the for-profit college, a unit of Career Education Corp., recommended that the university be required to reimburse the government for $173,000 in improper payments and to examine the records of thousands of other students in its CTU Online unit to see if similar improprieties occurred.

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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.

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