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Thread: For-profit education & gainful employment:

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    For-profit education & gainful employment:

    The value of for-profit higher education has been an political issue in the US in recent days. Just wanted to know what people here think of the for-profit education sector in general, as well as the gainful employment regulations being proposed. I know this issue isn't nearly as sexy as foreign policy or security, but nevertheless significant:

    Here's a little background documentary on the subject:

    FRONTLINE: college, inc. | PBS

    This is the GAO investigation that gave this issue its media controversy:

    For-Profit College Financial Aid, Government Panel - C-SPAN Video Library
    For-Profit College Financial Aid, College Panel - C-SPAN Video Library

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    On a lighter note, the for-profit sector has done much to perpetuate their image as degree mills. For example, check out this ad (YES, its a genuine ad, & NOT the foreplay part of a porno movie):

    YouTube - College In Pj's 2010 | :60

    Inevitably, some people have parodied the commercial above:

    YouTube - Butt Naked Online College (2011)

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    Hugely off my usual topics, but I was at a conference in California today and heard about chartered (high) schools with 90% college-bound ratios among 70% poverty kids, and 97% graduating from college.

    Pretty impressive.

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    Actually, yeah... kinda off topic from the political issue at hand. The recent controversy in the US is solely focused for-profit colleges, not high schools.

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    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    For profit schools run the gamut from 200 year old prep schools to diploma mills. Americans with the income to afford private school for their kids have long known that private schools do a generally better job than public schools. There are lot of systemic reasons, e.g., private schools don't have to dumb down their curricula to meet the needs of marginal students; they aren't beholden to elected school boards; they have no hiring and firing barriers based on government civil service laws; they foster tradition; and they can raise money from private donors. It's true that selective acceptance of applicants ensures better quality students and, therefore, better graduation and college acceptance rates. Dor mentioned charter schools. They are an attempt by local governments to bring some of the advantages of private schools to kids whose parents cannot afford a private school.

    With the internet we've seen a lot of on-line schools come into existence. Some of these are all about money and provide very little useful in the way of an education, except 'buyer beware'. My son did a home school on line with an excellent on-line high school based in S.Dakota. It was certified by a nationally respected education association. My daughter nearly fell into a trap with another on-line school, which offered the sky, the moon and glory all for a ridiculously high tuition, with, of course, a big discount good only on that day, or the next if you happen to go back for more info.

    There's nothing intrinsically wrong with for-profit schools; interested parties just need to research them very carefully before signing up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAD_333 View Post
    For profit schools run the gamut from 200 year old prep schools to diploma mills. Americans with the income to afford private school for their kids have long known that private schools do a generally better job than public schools. There are lot of systemic reasons, e.g., private schools don't have to dumb down their curricula to meet the needs of marginal students; they aren't beholden to elected school boards; they have no hiring and firing barriers based on government civil service laws; they foster tradition; and they can raise money from private donors. It's true that selective acceptance of applicants ensures better quality students and, therefore, better graduation and college acceptance rates. Dor mentioned charter schools. They are an attempt by local governments to bring some of the advantages of private schools to kids whose parents cannot afford a private school.

    With the internet we've seen a lot of on-line schools come into existence. Some of these are all about money and provide very little useful in the way of an education, except 'buyer beware'. My son did a home school on line with an excellent on-line high school based in S.Dakota. It was certified by a nationally respected education association. My daughter nearly fell into a trap with another on-line school, which offered the sky, the moon and glory all for a ridiculously high tuition, with, of course, a big discount good only on that day, or the next if you happen to go back for more info.

    There's nothing intrinsically wrong with for-profit schools; interested parties just need to research them very carefully before signing up.
    Are these high schools you're talking about? I don't think there are any complaints about private high schools being diploma-mills, at least not to the extent that these "colleges" are being scrutinized. My impression of the US higher-ed is that the best colleges are private schools (i.e. Harvard), but so are the worst (i.e. Westwood "college").

    EDIT: another hilarious parody to lighten the mood:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJl0XuDKSjc
    Last edited by mister unknown; 15 Mar 11, at 09:38.

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    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mister unknown View Post
    Actually, yeah... kinda off topic from the political issue at hand. The recent controversy in the US is solely focused for-profit colleges, not high schools.
    Well, take a look at your lead-in post.

    Quote by mister unknown: Just wanted to know what people here think of the for-profit education sector in general
    Dor's comment may not be strictly relevant, but it is informative.
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

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    Quote Originally Posted by JAD_333 View Post
    Well, take a look at your lead-in post.



    Dor's comment may not be strictly relevant, but it is informative.
    Ahh yes, I should have been more specific. The recent controversy in the US is only related to for-profit "colleges", I'm not aware of similar widespread problems with high schools. & that's what I actually wanted to focus on.

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    *caution* the 2nd parody may harm your computer. I shot red bull out my nose...

    But parodying something that in of itself is kind of satirical is a little dumb. I don't think it is right that education costs $ period and that people are getting rich off of those looking to better themselves. Just me.
    Last edited by Porsche917LH; 15 Mar 11, at 10:04.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mister unknown View Post
    Ahh yes, I should have been more specific. The recent controversy in the US is only related to for-profit "colleges", I'm not aware of similar widespread problems with high schools. & that's what I actually wanted to focus on.
    If you are talking about Tertiary colleges then there have been problems in Australia too.

    Tertiary education has grown to be a huge foreign currency earner over the last 20 years. This led to an expansion of traditional universities & colleges, but also the growth of smaller dor profit colleges (they also take locals, but Australians who get an official place at established universities pay via a deferred payment scheme, governments then pay the universities). During the early part of this century it was realised that we had skill shortages, so the Federal Govt. made it easier to get a Permanent Reidence visa (a stepping stone to citizenship) to those with tertiary qualifications. This coincided with the US tightening up student visa quaklifications after 9/11. There was a massive increase in students, especially from India (also China). This led to a commensurate expansion of small colleges which were sometimes no more than 'visa factories' - students getting little education & nothing of value. Others scammed students by failing to provide the education promised. Enrollments were often secured by slick & misleading advertising or salespeople. Some institutions collapsed. People whose families had sacrificed everything to give their children a chance ended up with no money & no degree. The government has since changed the rules linking tertiary degrees to PR status.

    Bottom line - there is a need for appropriate regulation & oversight to ensure that these institutions promise what they deliver. When people are forking out this sort of money & spending this sort of time they may already be deeply committed before they realize that they are getting a sub-standard product.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Porsche917LH View Post
    *caution* the 2nd parody may harm your computer. I shot red bull out my nose...
    "YOU TOO can aspire to make minimum wage one day..." HAHAHAHA!

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    There really shoyuld be some minimal standards for a college degree as witha high school degree. It is a real problem. Banks benefit for processing and the "schools" make cash and pump students who probably arent college material through the mill. Another question is what do we do to recreate oppurtinities for a middle or at least lower middle class life for those who just arent smart enough to gain advaned learning? If we undo much of the safety net like food stamps/rent aid etc what happens to them? Has there ever been a free society with a substantial underclass that is truly impoverished?

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    What is the long term effects of Higher Education Institutes being run like this?
    Does this not dilute the qualifications of all who attend and possibly effect future long term decision making?


    The Times - Leading Article.

    Academic Deficit

    Questionable dealings threaten the LSE’s credibility

    Professor Sir Karl Popper, the great philosopher, argued that knowledge, science and freedom all depend upon the ability to distinguish between an open society and its enemies. The London School of Economics and Political Science, where Popper taught, has shown itself incapable of making this distinction. Or of understanding its importance.

    In the modular courses offered by the LSE, the ability to understand that the Gaddafi family was running a murderous dictatorship should have been taught in the first week of political science, history, and moral philosophy classes. Sadly the LSE confined its consideration of the Libyan regime to its accountancy classes.

    Since The Times began to report on the large donation that the LSE received from the Gaddafi family and the PhD conferred on the Colonel’s son, Sir Howard Davies, the Director of the LSE, has shown emotional intelligence. Yet an apologetic shrug in response to our reporting and last week’s leading article are not good enough. No one in the institution appears quite to have grasped just how serious the revelations are. For they go beyond a question of taste, beyond the aesthetics of associating with an unsavoury regime.

    It should be a proud boast that you have obtained a PhD in political science from the LSE. This, after all, is the institution that hosted Friedrich von Hayek as he wrote The Road to Serfdom and Michael Oakeshott as he worked on his great essay “Rationalism in Politics”. But it is now also the institution that hosted Saif Gaddafi as he provided the academic world with the benefit of his insights upon civil society and human rights.

    Being lectured on liberty by Mr Gaddafi might at least have provided the amusement attendant upon originality, were it not for the suggestion that sections of his doctoral thesis appear familiar and that certain interviews were not conducted by him. Shortly after accepting this work, the LSE accepted a large sum of Gaddafi money. This raises the issue of whether the LSE maintained its standards when a donation was in prospect.

    The same question of academic integrity is raised by the fact that LSE staff recently produced an article on the Jasmine revolution which argued that Libya was less likely to have a revolution because it had “more pronounced tribalism” giving Libyans a stake in society. This while their unit was financed with Gaddafi money.

    There is, of course, an alternative explanation for the LSE’s conduct. But it is hardly a more encouraging one. It is that the LSE’s involvement with the Gaddafi family was not the result of a donation, but rather its cause. Mr Gaddafi chose the LSE because it “understood” him. But this would suggest that the LSE employs senior academics who are posing as experts in political science while, in fact, being grossly ignorant about it.

    Lord Giddens, the former director of the LSE, is renowned for his theory of structuration, an attempt to reconcile theoretical dichotomies of social systems. Or something. All very well, but it would be nice if this giant was also able to tell that the Gaddafi family was not very nice. This seems like an entry level requirement. He visited Libya recently and concluded that Colonel Gaddafi was “impressive” and “genuinely popular”. How much does the LSE propose to charge students to be taught by staff such as this? Or such as Professor David Held, whose faith in Mr Gaddafi would be touching were people not dying as a result of the faith placed in Saif as a reformer.

    There is a political dimension to this, too, as both these Professors, and other LSE figures, have long been influential in Labour circles.

    The LSE is one of the most prestigious British institutions in the world. It has stood for truth, understanding and freedom. All this is now in question. The challenge facing the leadership of the LSE could scarcely be more serious
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    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mister unknown View Post
    Ahh yes, I should have been more specific. The recent controversy in the US is only related to for-profit "colleges", I'm not aware of similar widespread problems with high schools. & that's what I actually wanted to focus on.
    Just one other small suggestion: when you start a thread, instead of posting just the url of the article, quote the relevant part or all of the article in the post with the url at the end. Good topic.

    For profit schools have been a problem in the US for years, especially trade and technical schools. Many of them have gotten in trouble for their loan processing activities, because, as you know, the Federal government underwrites loans to students to cover tuition costs. Many of these schools would not exist were it not for student loans. As for the quality of the education offered by these schools, some are better than others and some are complete rip offs.

    Strayer is a good example of a well run for-profit school; it was for many years a secretarial school, but as secretaries with shorthand became less in demand, it branched out to become an accredited university. Strayer University - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    But your question has a moral element: Is it right for schools to profit? I'd say, if they deliver the goods at a reasonable price, it's ok. If they scrimp on the goods just to insure a net profit, not ok. In the middle, schools that are willing to break even to avoid reducing the quality of the product in bad times, are also ok in my book.
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

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    Quote Originally Posted by JAD_333 View Post
    For profit schools have been a problem in the US for years, especially trade and technical schools.
    I've read a real lot recently about how many of them operate and they may manage to avoid the letter of the law in how they process the loans. They are still Boiler room predatory institutions designed to profit off loans they convince uninformed, non college material students into taking with false claims of career oppurtunities, earnings potential and job placement. Graduates don't have the skills they really need just the loan payments and the job placement is useless. Where I live they run pretty substantial media campaigns and you cant go anywhere in a city w/o seeing their brochures and all of them promise the skills for great careers. I'd be surprised if 25 percent of their overhead wasnt TV and radio in the tri state. Maybe a partial fix would be to limit advertising to a fixxed percentage of expenses to qualify for student loans. If they didnt need the ad blitz to maintain profitability they wouldnt do it.

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