• September 22, 2014

Education Dept. to Delay Issuing 'Gainful Employment' Rules Opposed by For-Profit Colleges

The U.S. Department of Education announced on Friday that it would delay issuing final rules on the most controversial aspects of its "gainful employment" regulation until early 2011, but said it would issue all the rest of its regulations affecting for-profit colleges on or around November 1, as scheduled.

The department said its intent was still to have the new gainful-employment regulation go into effect in July 2012, as planned.

"Let me be clear," said Education Secretary Arne Duncan, in a news release. "While a majority of career colleges play a vital role in training our work force to be globally competitive, some bad actors are saddling students with debt they cannot afford in exchange for degrees and certificates they cannot use."

The department said it was postponing action on the gainful-employment proposals to give interested parties more time to "clarify the comments they've submitted and respond to questions from department officials."

The rule, which is being vehemently opposed by the for-profit college industry and its allies and backed by a coalition of consumer and education groups, could eliminate federal financial aid for programs where high proportions of students are not repaying the principle on their student loans or end up with excessive debt loads for the salaries they can earn.

Many of the opponents contend that the department's proposed rule is based on incomplete data and faulty reasoning.

Publicly the Association of Private-Sector Colleges and Universities, formerly the Career College Association, and several higher-education companies expressed support for the department's move on Friday. Privately some noted that while the department said the postponement would allow for time to hold meetings and public hearings on the proposals, its announcement on the timetable said nothing explicit about its willingness to considering changes in the gainful-employment rule.

Harris N. Miller, the association's president, said the postponement could provide an "opportunity to avoid issuing a rule that would harm students, job growth, and communities."

A Vast PR Campaign

Corinthian Colleges Inc., which owns Everest College and other institutions with programs that would be eliminated or restricted under the gainful-employment rule, as currently proposed, said the postponement would allow a welcome second look at a proposal that "would have had serious unintended consequences for students and the country."

Last week Corinthian began a vast public-relations campaign designed to show that the rule could affect "as many as" 100,000 jobs and one million students. The company's chief executive, Peter C. Waller, said Corinthian was spending in the "high seven figures" for its "My Career Counts" advertisements in newspapers and on the radio.

Supporters of tougher regulations praised the department for sticking with its planned time frame for putting the new rule into effect.

"Today's announcement recognizes that students and taxpayers are getting fleeced and cannot afford to wait for protection from unscrupulous schools," said Pauline M. Abernathy, vice president of the Institute for Access and Success, in a written statement. The institute, along with more than two dozen other education and consumer groups, is seeking an even stricter gainful-employment rule.

The institute said it was also pleased that, under the timetable, the department could begin enforcing by next year some portions of the gainful-employment regulation that would require colleges to provide greater disclosure about programs' costs and their students' job prospects. Those parts of the regulation could "warn students away from the programs most likely to leave them with debts they cannot repay," said Ms. Abernathy in the statement. A Chronicle analysis in July found that 40 percent of government loans to students at for-profit colleges who entered repayment in 1995 have gone into default.

In comments to the department about the proposal, the institute has suggested that the department also require colleges where students have high rates of borrowing and high rates of default to post that information prominently on their Web sites, beginning in July 2011, when the first parts of the gainful-employment regulation would go into effect.

The department has said it has received about 90,000 comments—about twice as many as ever before—on the proposed rule. Some of the comments were auto-generated in the names of for-profit college students and employees with the help of lobbying firms that specialize in stirring up what appear to be grass-roots protests.

A Mountain of Comments

The sheer volume of the comments was probably one reason for the department's delay, according to Nancy Broff, a lobbyist for for-profit colleges who has years of experience in department rule-making matters.

With the rule likely to be challenged in court, the department would "have to be able to say to a judge with a straight face" that it had considered and analyzed all the public input it received, Ms. Broff told attendees at a major conference this month in New York for investors in the for-profit higher-education industry.

The mountain of comments is just one sign of the intensity of the debate over the new regulations, which also include provisions that would put new teeth into rules regulating aggressive recruiting tactics and deceptive advertising by colleges.

Executives like Mr. Waller, Donald E. Graham, chairman of the Washington Post Company (which owns a piece of Corinthian and runs its own colleges through its Kaplan Inc. subsidiary), and many others have also been lobbying members of Congress in hopes of building political opposition to the gainful-employment rule.

Another group, calling itself the Coalition for Education Success and backed by colleges owned by private-equity investors, has also become active on the public-relations front. It has hired Lanny Davis, once a top lawyer in the Clinton administration and now a lobbyist and a columnist for The Hill, a newspaper covering Congress, as its spokesman.

The push will only intensify this coming week. On Tuesday the Association of Private-Sector Colleges and Universities will hold a "Career Day" rally on Capitol Hill followed by a lobbying blitz. Declaring that "the stakes are enormous" and "the time is short," the association has urged its member colleges to come to Washington with students and with representatives of companies that hire their graduates.

Later in the week, for-profit colleges will find themselves back in the spotlight. On Thursday a key Senate committee led by Sen. Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, will hold its third hearing on for-profit higher education. Earlier hearings focused on the rising levels of federal money going into the rapidly growing for-profit sector and on fraud and deception in student recruiting disclosed in an undercover investigation of for-profit colleges by the Government Accountability Office.

At Thursday's hearing, Senator Harkin said, the focus will be on "the magnitude of the federal investment in for-profit schools and whether students are being left with debt but no diploma."

Comments

1. seraphpendragon - September 24, 2010 at 02:13 pm

"While a majority of career colleges play a vital role in training our work force to be globally competitive, some bad actors are saddling students with debt they cannot afford in exchange for degrees and certificates they cannot use."

You know, I think that the lesson of learning that just because you have a degree you don't automatically get a job as CEO is vital. It's probably a better lesson than everything they learn in college. If you have a degree you cannot use...welcome to the real world! Find a way to make it work.

2. jaberke - September 24, 2010 at 02:43 pm

I went to Florida State University, and they kept throwing student loans at me as fast as I could take them even though I was earning a degree in English. I have more student loan debt than I could ever reasonbly pay off by teaching English, but I don't see anyone going after FSU. Additionally, I'm not employed in a position that requires an English degree, so that blow the whole "gainfully employed" element right out of the water. When the same standards are applied to state-funded institutions, then I'll buy into the idea of "gainful employment." Oh...and the next time you walk into a bookstore or gas station, as the attendant where he/she earned that philosophy degree.

3. dabarlow - September 24, 2010 at 02:58 pm

I have four college degrees, all in hard sciences. They're nearly worthless. As far as I'm concerned this rule should apply to all colleges and it should have teeth. In my opinion, COLLEGE IS THE BIGGEST RIP-OFF IN AMERICA TODAY.
Surveys and alumni giving rates consistently indicate a high level of dissatisfaction with most colleges. When will our politicians wakeup and close these joints down?

4. bpilgrim - September 24, 2010 at 03:05 pm

Some of the for-profits are a little more flagrant in recruiting students who are dramatically under-prepared, filling out loan paperwork for the students, and offering degree programs that do meet industry standards for their disciplines. Although I sympathize with jaberke, that's a little different than paying $200,000 for a Criminal Justice degree and then not being able to be hired as a policeman because you have not completed the required curriculum, internships, etc. Even if you have an English or philosophy degree, you still have a bona fide degree from a decent school, and that is worth something in the job market. Plus you have something more intrinsically valuable - an education. Be happy, you have some insight into the meaning of life!

5. prhelm1 - September 24, 2010 at 03:05 pm

Seems to me that there's a difference between getting a liberal arts degree (with Philosophy, English, Science major)which does not claim to be preparation for a specific career, as opposed to paying for a vocational degree (cosmetology, computer programming, etc.) that does not prepare you for the job that it claims to prepare you for.

6. thais - September 24, 2010 at 03:12 pm

You go to college to get an education not necessarily a job. If you get the English, History or Theater degree your employer to be notes that you got through college and stuck it out. You would hopefully have an advantage in whatever field you into because you can thing and solve problems critically. If you are in some fields you learn to understand people and how to work with them. While some fields in college may offer you technical training, I would hope those same field offer the end goal which is the ability to learn and think critically.
My best,
Michael

7. 11209892 - September 24, 2010 at 03:22 pm

Hi Michael and all:

Michael makes a very valid point, one in which we are loosing sight of. We go to college for an education. That education, no matter in what, is suppose to enrich our lives and give us experiences which we would not have if we didn't pursue a degee. God bless us if we can use that education for a job, but we as a society need to remember that education has a value in and of itself not just to get a job.
Higher education has lost track of this fact which is why we are seeing so many programs cut. As I tell my students,

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

8. jbarman - September 24, 2010 at 04:23 pm

I received a copy of the Chronicle today. Among the many faculty faculty openings were for assistant professorships in art history, art appreciation, black history, comparative religion, comparative studies, English literature, gender studies, hispanic studies, and ancient philosophy.

The job openings were at respected IHEs including Princeton, Wellesley, and NYU.

If gainful employment is to be the proxy for successful education, then it is incumbent on the DOE to immediately sanction Princeton, Wellesley, and NYU until those schools can show a statistical relationship between employment and taking courses in the areas cited above.

9. studentloanjustice - September 24, 2010 at 04:24 pm

Sorry to see this. I suspect you aren't to impressed either...

This is a perfect example of the Dept caving in to pressure, so that ultimately, they will likely not sanction more than a handful of schools, prices will not go down, and it will be just another set of regulations to irritate the schools, and do nothing for the borrowers.

This is precisely why bankruptcy should be restored...if ED had skin in the game (ie they were losing money instead of making it on defaulted loans), they'd impose the plan as designed, and maybe with even more teeth, instead of less!

See the citizen's argument covering this at:

studentloanjustice.org/argument.htm


10. guava - September 24, 2010 at 05:57 pm

@dabarlow - you have four degrees in hard sciences and they have not helped you build a career? How did that come about? Science is needed in so many areas!

Doesn't science teach you how to think creatively, in terms of problem solving and coming up with solutions? What about the tinkerers of old, who brought us modern physics, light bulbs, and other vestiges of modern life we take for granted today? These people had classical educations and knew how to pull together several disciplines and move knowledge forward.

What has happened to us in this modern society? Why have we become so passive? Are we too overspecialized?

Knowing how to think and learn is never a waste of time. It is the foundation for additional learning and knowing what to do with one's knowledge in the real world.

11. thais - September 24, 2010 at 06:12 pm

Guava,
Your last statement is wise and true. Knowlege is power when you know how to use it wisely.
My best,
Michael

12. truthfirst - September 24, 2010 at 06:29 pm

Colleges and universities need to take a step back and look at their faculty more closely as well as what is happening to the students that graduate. There are some outstanding faculty in many American colleges and universities. On the other hand there are some tenured faculty out there who are using verbal abuse on graduate students and completely fail to educate or support their educational efforts. Some tenured faculty members feel very secure and make life hell for other faculty members and students. This growing trend is completely ignored because their is an institutional belief that these people are untouchable.

We cannot be so ready to increase enrollment and saddle students with debt that we offer this kind of education. It is so easy to blame students for taking out loans and not utilizing their degrees. But it is time that we admit universities and colleges must be held accountable for quality education. When I was growing up if you took money for something you did not do it was considered stealing. So if some institutions continue to take the money and provide poor educational supports then we need to call it what it is.

13. sm0832 - September 24, 2010 at 06:50 pm

I finished my Ph.D dissertation and orals and received high marks on my rubic, however the next step was a reviewer who flatly rejected my committee's approval. This was two years ago. since then the school has changed their policy that the reviewer will now be in the beginning of the process. I completed 2 revisions and refuse to do any more revisions. My lawyer has asked for a jury to hear my case.I don't feel that this was money wasted. My committee were seasoned professors,good mentors and excellent advisors.

14. truthfirst - September 24, 2010 at 07:17 pm

Yes I think this is the thing to do whether it be faculty or reviewers when you work
hard for an education. People who threaten that process with invalid deliberate abuse
which can threatened what you have worked for they need to be dealt with legally.

15. garden8811 - September 24, 2010 at 08:12 pm

What about the Senate committee that is investigating this. Do they really understand there are no jobs out there right now and it is not the fault of the university (public or private)? These people are so out of touch with reality - they need to be kicked out of office and spend time looking for real work.

I say oust the bunch of them and thank all institutions of higher education who try to educate our citizens.

Shame on you congress!

16. davh7278 - September 24, 2010 at 10:46 pm

More and more it seems to me that the Dept of Ed (and Arne Duncan in particular) is the flunky of these for-profits. Duncan and his minions really aren't listening to the uproar over this from those who have been caught in this mess and left with mountains of debt that can't be repaid by a worthless degree and no job - but Duncan and his cohorts are listening to all the "on the Hill" lobbying that the Washington Post's Donald Graham - Mr. Transparency himself - and others are doing.

17. studentloanjustice - September 24, 2010 at 11:17 pm

DAV is onto something...but this is the critical point which I am sure probably none of you realize:


The Department of Education gets back about $1.23 for every dollar it pays out in default claims.


Think about this fact for a moment. For credit cards, the recovery rate isn't anything like that...its about twenty five cents on the dollar.

Think slightly deeply about the ramifications of this fact, and the real problem will crystallize before you.

Cheater link: Studentloanjustice.org/argument.htm



I've been sorely dissappointed in the behavior of academia generally over the years. Perhaps someone here will surprise.




18. 22228715 - September 25, 2010 at 08:06 am

For many of the for-profit programs, the promises are concrete, the costs are out of whack in a way that is visible with even some very basic math, and the content/skill delivery is fairly basic because of the topics. I think some accountability measures are in order, and would not be that hard to measure.

But some of the commenters above have a point. If we're going to do that for programs that profess to teach a student how to enter data into a computer or how to draw blood, why wouldn't we do something similar for a liberal arts degree? Maybe... it would be harder to measure the outcomes of critical thinking and a more fulfilling life, the costs over a lifetime actually recoup for most although that could be studied more, and the content/skill delivery is vastly more complex. But I suppose it could be done, for a price.

What commenters #2 and #3 might not realize is that a likely outcome of a strong college or university having more accountability for the performance of its graduates would likely result in MUCH stricter screening of who is given an actual diploma, or what kind of diploma. My prediction would be that institutions would do what high schools have done - create two tiers of certification: one that confirms that the student completed a certain number of credits and paid the bills (what they do now) and one that puts a stronger, qualitative stamp of approval on the finished portfolio (meaning, this student went beyond attendance and point totals, and took leadership, thought hard, contributed to the community, showed ethical behavior, behaved in healthy and productive ways, won the respect of faculty and staff and peers, interacted in a constructive way with others, showed curiosity and initiative...) I suspect that quite a few of the gas station attendants and those who have multiple degrees but no idea what to do with them might fall in the former diploma category. This is not official, but informally at this time the two categories play out as 1) diploma, and 2) diploma plus evidence of out-of-classroom accomplishments and regard.

19. truthfirst - September 25, 2010 at 05:51 pm

Regarding comment 20 :My prediction would be that institutions would do what high schools have done - create two tiers of certification: one that confirms that the student completed a certain number of credits and paid the bills (what they do now) and one that puts a stronger, qualitative stamp of approval on the finished portfolio (meaning, this student went beyond attendance and point totals, and took leadership, thought hard, contributed to the community, showed ethical behavior, behaved in healthy and productive ways, won the respect of faculty and staff and peers, interacted in a constructive way with others, showed curiosity and initiative...)

This comment is at the heart of what is actually going on with college graduates. Sadly it explains why there are students getting degrees but no jobs. We need to take a very hard look at the faculty and individuals responsible for setting these so called two tiers of certification. We need to make sure that they are not biased in their support of students, we need to make sure that students are supported in ways that will yield ethical behavior, behavior in healthy and productive ways, winning the respect of faculty and staff and peers, interacting in a constructive way with others, showing curiosity and initiative...)

If we have tenured faculty that have taught so long that they have forgotten what is not to take
sides but to be about the business of education for all students, to work to help students towards
a goal and to create and support an atmosphere that is about education and not unjust unfair treatment. Egos are a big thing in higher education. But I don't think any student goes into debt
thinking they will be at odds with that kind of thing. I think students are trying to work at a better life, trying to make a difference and trying to find a way to give back. Sure there are some students
who don't have this mind set. But I have seen even those students change. As far as I am concerned that is what teaching is all about. If you can reach a student regardless of how tough
the situation maybe and give them a real education then bravo. If you are the type of faculty that
does not support a students right to learn and excel no matter what then my friend you are no longer teaching. I cite a case where a student was labeled abrasive and not a team player. Turns out this student had a learning disability. One faculty member was abusive another was supportive. Today because of the supportive faculty this student is a productive and famous medical scientist. We should go back to teaching so when a student graduates they have the skill
and the education to make a degree work for them even in a tough economy. The bottom line is
employers are looking for skill and results not guesswork.

20. cvillek3ndra - September 26, 2010 at 02:12 pm

These comments seems to be a mixture of the bitter and the clueless. A person with a doctorate who does not have a job--that is a bitter pill to swallow... I just finished a doctorate and I'm looking for a job. I'm geographically limited because my mother is ill and, in my target area, from D.C. to Florida, there are three jobs that are a good match. Three. But the guy who said, "Wow, gotta degree and no guaranteed job? Welcome to the real world," I agree with that. Even people with doctorates have to follow certain steps lock-step to get a job--and every time you zig rather than zag, you move three steps back in the chase for tenure track. It's a sign of the times and times are hard. We've deskilled the working class by moving their jobs overseas. Now the crunch has hit white collar knowledge workers. The rubber of our job prospects is hitting the road of big huge choices at the macroeconomic level that have eliminated some fields altogether, hurt salaries in others, and created opportunities in still others that vast swaths of the population are unprepared to take advantage of. It's as my girlfriend says, the new normal. Against that backdrop,you've got liberal arts education on one hand and for-profit education on the other. One makes no promises; the other promises a job. Both, with colleges raising tuition because they've lost state and private funding sources as costs skyrocket, result in high levels of debt. There's a crisis and as a matter of triage it makes sense that you go after for-profit first. Because if you go to your state college and make the right contacts, you can get your feet on the first rung of the job ladder. That state college offered an opportunity. The for-profit is offering a guarantee. One is by definition aspirational and contingent; the other can be fact-checked and should be policed. (Like that analysis? Hey, I gotta doctorate. I know how to think :-) )

21. rixster - September 27, 2010 at 06:58 am

Accountability is sorely needed. having taught at proprietary schools I have seen the heavy debt load some studnts assume. Some are also left with a 'diploma' of minimal value which will not translate into a job. There are many issues to address, such as appropriate screening of students for certain higher level programs and remediation in basic skills.

RS
Palm Beach County, FL

22. der_gadfly - September 27, 2010 at 09:11 am

I have met a number of younger college grads who have overly high expectations about what happens once one has earned a degree. Some seem to think that they have a degree, therefore they should get a high-paying job and be a manager right out of the box.

I graduated with a BA in a time when there were no jobs. Ditto for after my MA. I took jobs to pay the bills. Now, many decades later, that degrees are actually worth something. Maybe I came from a different generation: one that was told about the value of the degree AND the value of earning ones' stripes.

One of the big themes missing from the discussions and deliberations is that of the gap in expectations. This will not be a quick fix, but it certainly can be done.

Lastly, knee-jerking to pressure from the populist media is simply going to shake up a lot of companies, put honest people out of work, and in the long run, there will be no additional gain in the traditional liberal arts offerings, tenure-track faculty lines, or any meaningful progress towards the Obama goal of more degrees.

23. willynilly - September 27, 2010 at 10:24 am

The delay in issuing the new rules is a major victory for the "for-profits". It gives their wealthy owners much more time to buy the legislative votes they need to quash or alter the rules and allows them to go full-bore in getting to the new legislators who will be elected mid-term and who will be anxious to get their hands on the lobbyist cash they will be offered for their support to change or scrap the rules - cash vital to their efforts to retain their new seats in two years.

24. cjones599 - September 27, 2010 at 02:16 pm

To add to the discussion: I became concerned about the for-profits' ability to tap into financial aid and student federal loans once I completed the FAFSA form for financial Aid. There is a place to designate the university or college (listed by state) where you want information sent. I clicked on the list of colleges that qualify for aid, and the list was enormous. I think more of you need to look at the list for your state. What you will see is that many, many institutions quality for students to receive aid. And this list includes many programs you may be surprised to see on the list. Our state's list included examples that I was very curious about.

This information helps us know that the Senate committee is not only addressing the large for-profit schools we see advertized on TV. Instead, these rules may apply to many of the small proprietary program to which students apply. The larger view is that these schools supply students with choices for different forms of post-secondary education. Should the government subsidize the financial aid programs for all of these schools? Do the graduates of these schools add to the number of college "graduates" in the US? Is some form of post-secondary experience vital for all Americans? If so, these schools do have a purpose. At the same time, there is a need to put appropriate checks in place so that there is not abuse of the system. I have shared similar thoughts with Senator Harkin.

25. robertsk42 - September 27, 2010 at 04:33 pm

The public and not-for-profit colleges and universities exist to provide oportunities for the citizenry and support the quality of life in the state or community. They are investments in the person and the community. The result is a more informed citizen, the prerequset for a functioning democracy. All of the fees support the educational endevor in some manner via salaries and investment in infrastructure. Any government grants given to students also supports the educational endevor.

The for-profit colleges and universities exist to make money. They generally minimize the hard infrastructure and the soft services in order to make a profit. This profit is funded largly by government grants to students.

26. betterschools - September 27, 2010 at 06:11 pm

@robertsk42,

This is an incomplete and partially incorrect analysis of the distinctions between the two fundamentally different corporate charters. As a serious question, I would ask how many leaders of the roughly 1,000 for-profit colleges you know personally, how many campuses you have visited, and how many students of these institutions you know? I have visited dozens upon dozens of these schools across the nation. When you do so, and when you see what is going on at these schools, including speaking to the students and gaining a better appreciation for their situation and their goals, there is a good chance that you will come away with a different opinion. I can tell you that every congressman and senator who has taken the time to visit these schools has positively revised his or her thinking about their function in our culture.

It seems perhaps that your judgments are being formed by the popular press's take on the handful of mega-large publicly traded for-profit colleges. That is unfortunate because the real issues (there are real issues on all sides) are too complex for the press's preference for sound bites, good guys and bad guys, and sensationalist over-generalizations.

Having said this, and possessing the hard data on the performance of all institutions of higher education -- public, private, and for-profit -- I can tell you that not all of these schools do a uniformly good job. Many need to improve. Still, if I were in a position to reform only one institutional type, it would be the publics. Why? Because that reform would provide the greatest leverage to the very values you address.

It would take too long to unpack the errors in your economic presuppositions so I will leave you with only three considerations: (a) each year for-profits pay hundreds of billions in taxes of all forms (income, property, sales, use, fuel, telecommunications, payroll, etc.) whereas non-profits pay zero (aside from payroll) and realize hundreds of billions in forgone taxation benefits (all of the above categories plus billions in tax-free endowment income, (b) after loading in all default costs, this year the feds will net hundreds of millions in interest ("profit") from loans made to students who have chosen to attend for-profits, (c) loan defaults and payback rates are the worst not in for-profits, as you may have been told, but in the public institutions operating in the most economically disadvantaged portions of our nation; the feds payback rate shows the worst 30 publics at about 19% versus 32% for the seven largest for-profits. Loan payback, etc. is a complex issue. I don't mean to suggest that it stops with this point.

27. betterschools - September 27, 2010 at 07:00 pm

Typo: . ". . . (a) each year for-profits pay tens of billions in taxes of all forms . . ."

28. docfox - September 27, 2010 at 11:53 pm

@betterschools,

Thank you for sharing your considerable wisdom and expertise. In the interest of full disclosure and so that we may better understand the context in which you make your statements, would you care sharing what financial interests (if any) you might have in for-profit higher education and exactly what the connection is between your company (InterEd, Inc.) and the Apollo Group? The Arizona Corporate Commission website suggests that InterEd may be a subsidiary of Apollo (or otherwise closely connected):

http://starpas.azcc.gov/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=wsbroker1/history-detail.p?corp-id=01434491

29. betterschools - September 28, 2010 at 10:34 am

@docfox,

You boring, one-note person who has so little personal courage that he refuses to make his identity known, in spite of repeated requests, and who has so little intellectual horsepower that he can only challenge the bias of others without offering anything constructive himself. Perhaps it is time for someone to learn and convey your history.

For the record, I have no connection with Apollo Group, of any kind, including financial. Neither is InterEd a subsidiary or member of Apollo Group. It has no connection, of any kind, with Apollo, including financial. How many times have you done this, Docfox? A dozen? What your obsessive mind misinterprets each time is a 1994 name dispute leading to a name change. At one time Apollo held the name InterEd. As I understand it (I may be wrong), they were not using it. It was just a name being held for potential future use. The corporation commission initially allowed the then new company I work for to have it and, upon discovering the mistake, an exchange was made. No money or any other consideration was involved. It was a gracious act made by John Sperling, the founder and CEO of Apollo.

There is your mystery. I hope, now, you will graciously step aside and allow those who know something about these topics to speak to them. Perhaps, also, you will ask a colleague to explain to you how having worked for the community college that you did before retirement is a potential source of bias in your judgments. We all have perspectives that can lead to biases. Intellectuals strive to recognize and accommodate the various contributions to potential biases in their reasoning. This intellectual value is clearly something you do not understand. Nonetheless, I welcome any reasoned consideration that rests on public facts. Virtually all of the facts upon which I have rested my claims can be derived from the Department of Education's and other public databases. It does take time . . . and skill to do that.

30. docfox - September 29, 2010 at 01:08 am

@betterschools,

Thank you for your kind reply. It is true that I have asked you these questions about a dozen times, but it is also true that this is the first time you've attempted to answer them. I find several things about your response rather interesting:

1) Wow, are you ever defensive and childish! I'm not complaining, mind you, as it makes your rants all the more entertaining. But I hope anyone searching for InterEd or Robert W. Tucker finds your comments and sees how you conduct yourself when confronted with a legitimate question about a potential conflict of interest.

2) It is curious to me that you did not retain any executive stock options from your time as a VP at the University of Phoenix.

3) I notice that you only address your financial interests in Apollo Group (and thank the lord for John Sperling and his amazing gift to you), but not the for-profit sector in general. Given that your company's website notes that it has "been creating successful adult-centered and professional programs" since 1983, it seems to me that a significant proportion of your clientele is for-profit schools. If they thrive, your company thrives.

4) While you claim to be impartially interested in higher education in general, I have noticed that you comment almost *exclusively* on articles that address the increasing scrutiny of the for-profit sector. This, combined with number 3, means that I trust you and your analyses about as far as I can throw you.

5) You are apparently very poor at Googling, as I am neither retired nor a former employee of a community college.

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