10-Campus For-Profit Chain Shuts Down

Heritage College, a for-profit with 10 campuses around the country, is shutting down, apparently immediately, according to press reports in some areas where Heritage has operated. No information is available on why the colleges are being shut down. Heritage operates in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio and Oklahoma.

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CFPB Filing in Accreditation Lawsuit

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has asked an appeals court to throw out a lower court's ruling that the federal agency lacks the authority to investigate accreditors' oversight of for-profit colleges, Politico reported. The bureau said in an opening brief that it has "ample authority" to pursue accreditors that could be violating federal consumer protection laws. CFPB's lawsuit is against the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, a controversial national accreditor that is facing an existential threat over its approval of Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institutes.

For-Profits Gave $100,000 to Senator Roy Blunt

Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri, has received $100,000 in campaign donations from for-profit colleges and the industry's lobbyists, according to a report from The Kansas City Star. Blunt is chairman of an appropriations subcommittee that regulates funding for federal financial aid, and he is known as an ally of the for-profit industry.

Blunt has received $28,800 from for-profit institutions and their political action committees and at least $73,550 from lobbyists hired by for-profits. He is one of many Republicans who has received campaign contributions from the industry.

The senator's campaign has cashed $14,000 from Thompson Coburn, a lobbying firm that worked with ITT Technical Institutes -- the for-profit chain that collapsed in September. ITT Tech was the subject of several federal lawsuits and legal investigations. Blunt also received money from Bridgepoint Education, which the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently fined $23.5 million for deceiving students about payments.

Blunt, who has been a senator since 2011, is facing one of the year's most heated Senate races. Although many pundits considered him a shoo-in for re-election, his Democratic challenger, Jason Kander, is neck and neck with him in polls.

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Wikileaks, Bill Clinton and For-Profits

A former adviser to Bill Clinton co-founded a corporate consulting firm that did communications work for Education Management Corporation, a for-profit college chain, as well as a company that does student-loan default-prevention.

The inner workings of the company, Teneo Holdings, were revealed in an illegally hacked memorandum that was released last week by Wikileaks, the antisecrecy group that federal authorities say has received documents from hackers working for the Russian government in an attempt to influence the U.S. presidential election.

Former Clinton adviser Doug Band co-founded Teneo. In the memo Band said he helped encourage Teneo's clients to donate to the Clinton Foundation. Band also described how he helped facilitate Bill Clinton's previously reported lucrative personal business relationship with Laureate Education, a for-profit college chain.

A Teneo subsidiary, Teneo Strategies, in recent years did public relations work for EDMC, including its Art Institutes chain. Another EDMC subsidiary, the defunct Brown Mackie College, donated up to $10,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to The Washington Post.

Teneo Strategies also performed communications work for Ceannate Corp., a company that colleges pay to help prevent former students from defaulting on their federal student loans. Ceannate does not appear to have donated to the Clinton Foundation.

Court Reinstates False Claims Suit Against For-Profit College

A federal appeals court on Wednesday overturned a lower court ruling that dismissed a False Claims Act lawsuit in which two former employees accused a for-profit college of falsifying grades to keep students eligible for federal financial aid. The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit means that Heritage College, a for-profit chain that prepares health care workers, will have to defend itself in federal court against charges that it fraudulently induced the Education Department to give it funds by falsely promising to keep accurate student records when it was purposefully manipulating them.

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Owner of Defunct For-Profit Charged With Illegal Closing

Ernesto Perez, the owner of the defunct Dade Medical College in Miami, was charged with two misdemeanor counts related to the abrupt closure of eight of the college's campuses, according to The Miami Herald.

About 2,000 students and 400 employees were affected by the closure. Under state law, college owners must notify Florida's Commission for Independent Education at least 30 days before closing. Investigators found that Perez notified the state, students and later the commission within a five-hour time frame.

The college closed in October 2015 after receiving increased scrutiny from federal officials.

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For-Profit Admits Rules Violations, Shuts Down

Career Point College, a for-profit institution in San Antonio, notified students and faculty members that it is shutting down, The San Antonio Express-News reported. A letter from the college said that three long-term employees had "collaborated to violate the rules related to student aid funds." After the college reported these violations to the U.S. Education Department, the department rejected a plan by the college to repay funds it received "inappropriately" and restricted the use of federal funds at the college, forcing the shutdown.

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DeVry settles job placement claims with U.S. Education Department

Settlement between for-profit university and Education Department resolves charges over unsubstantiated advertising about job placement, but Federal Trade Commission lawsuit over same claims remains.

Breaking: DeVry Settles on Job Placement Claims

The U.S. Department of Education announced today that it reached a settlement with DeVry University over a charge that the for-profit institution used unsubstantiated job placement claims in recruitment and advertising materials.

Last year, the department requested that DeVry provide data and information to back the institution’s claim that, since 1975, 90 percent of its graduates were employed in their field of study within six months of graduation. The Federal Student Aid Office determined that DeVry could not provide sufficient evidence to support that claim.

The settlement requires DeVry to post a five-year letter of credit no less than $68.4  million. The institution must also take steps to rid the internet of the “since 1975” marketing language on its own website and on websites not under its direct control.

“The settlement in no way hinders DeVry University’s ability to serve current or future students,” said a statement from the institution’s parent company, DeVry Education Group. “DeVry University is pleased to have resolved the notice in full cooperation with the department and continues to cooperate with the department to resolve the remainder of its August 2015 investigation. The settlement allows DeVry University to continue communicating its strong student outcomes while providing assurances regarding the extent of its graduate employment data.”

DeVry is still facing a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit over its job placement rates and claims.

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Laureate-Owned Walden U Under State Review

Walden University's online Ph.D. programs are under review by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, according to NBC News. The university is a for-profit based institution that is also the U.S. flagship of Laureate Education.

The review is following news reports that some students felt victimized by the institution's practices and were forced to take on large student loans. Laureate has faced public scrutiny in recent months after it was revealed that former President Bill Clinton received nearly $18 million in payments from the company as its honorary chancellor. Clinton stepped down from the position last year prior to Hillary Clinton's presidential run.

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