• September 2, 2015

The Making of Corporate U.

How we got here

Corporate U.

Illustration by Dave Plunkert for The Chronicle

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close Corporate U.

Illustration by Dave Plunkert for The Chronicle

In the half-century after World War II, Americans built their dream on three pillars: a new house, new car, and higher education. Over time, higher education came to dominate the dream, for it was a statement about the future, opportunities, and one's children. As it became the only route to an increasing number of professions and the primary path to economic success, it generated greater and greater expectations, enrollments, and money. It became one of America's most successful industries. And it became the target of discontent and anger.

Few industries grew as fast, gained such prestige, or affected the lives of so many people. Higher education received remarkable sums of money from federal, state, and local governments. Alumni and foundations gave generously. Families reached into their savings and went into debt so that their children could go to college. Like the automobile industry, the education industry showed itself remarkably deft at marketing and at adding new institutions, programs, and facilities. Like the housing industry, it became sophisticated at showing individuals how to obtain financing, and it created financial-aid packages with generous dosages of public funds.

By the last decades of the 20th century, colleges had achieved a monopoly as the licensing agencies for Americans who wanted to improve their employment prospects. Every occupation sought to raise its prestige and income by making a college degree (and beyond) the requirement for entry. As the job market for those without college deteriorated into dead-end work at fast-food franchises, continuing one's education became a necessity.

The seemingly insatiable demand to attend college, the availability of government and private money with which to do so, and the desire of every state and local community to have its own college or university made it easy for higher education to charge what the traffic would bear. In the 1980s, tuition so substantially outpaced inflation and the growth rate of median family income that higher education looked like yet another greedy industry.

The 1990s brought renewed inflows of money and a market-oriented ideology, making colleges and universities even more parallel to other industries. Institutions with endowments and large sums of money could invest in the financial markets and receive double-digit returns; institutions with little in the way of surplus engaged in fund-raising campaigns and hired financial advisers to help themselves become richer. The dot-com bubble burst around 2000, but memories of the bust dimmed quickly, until 2008 and 2009 arrived, with devastating financial consequences. It turned out that the higher-education industry, and the ethos that fueled it, was in fact little different than the housing and automobile industries.

As higher education emerged as a giant industry, faculty members also gained enormous public stature. The stereotype of the absent-minded, befuddled professor disappeared, replaced by a growing number of government advisers, policy analysts, corporation consultants, and media commentators. The most prestigious faculty members—in all areas, but especially in the sciences, where the ability to attract outside grants became so important—professors became free agents, selling themselves in the highly mobile job market. The professoriate became the primary campus decision maker, as administrators routinely articulated the basic principle of academic life: The faculty is the heart of the institution.

That is, until the 1980s. By then a new ethos had established itself, one that grew evermore exaggerated and powerful—the ethos of the market. Although a market orientation had always existed in higher education, the market as the compelling force took on a whole new gravitas at the end of the 20th century. With it came an enormous shift in the balance of power in higher education. Institutional managers proliferated. Governing boards took on more power. The most-influential board members came from the world of business because it was assumed they understood economic markets. Students became more important than before because their ever-increasing tuition payments balanced budgets and their brains brought prestige. They expected to be treated well as customers and, more important, they increasingly assumed their degrees would be valuable in the labor market.

Faculty members, once the most important decision makers, lost power. They held onto things like faculty appointments, but the truly big decisions, like where institutional resources would go, whether to biology or history or to a newcomer like public policy or to student services or graduate-student fellowships, were not faculty decisions. As the proportion of part-time instructors grew, so too did divisiveness within faculty ranks, further diluting professors' power.

At the same time, their rights and responsibilities came into question. Could they really never be fired? Did they only teach 12 hours a week? Such questions were the public face of growing discontent. The academic disciplines themselves, which had been the heart of academe, came to look like walls against new approaches to learning; the power of academic departments seemed to serve mainly to undermine decisions taken in the interest of the institution as a whole. The megasize of the higher-education industry, and the high expectations that surrounded it, made it an easy target.

At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the automobile industry appeared to collapse, along with the housing market—two of the mainstays of success in America. The weight of their failure had simply become too great: greed, callous indifference to the environment, and a failure to take foreign competition seriously, combined with the disappearance of easy credit. The higher-education industry has not collapsed, but it has faced complaints similar to those hurled at the automobile and housing industries: chastised for offering overpriced, poor-quality products and services; as inefficient and bureaucratic, unwilling to adapt to new markets, technologically backward, administratively bloated, uninterested in teaching, and more concerned with frills than the core product. The automobile industry, at least, may remake itself—Americans have a way of doing that. The jury will be out for some time.

And higher education? It is also trying to remake itself. When endowments at the richest universities dropped by 25 percent to 30 percent, gifts declined, and states faced bankruptcies, the costs of business as usual became too great. All the obvious steps have been taking place: cutting staff and programs, canceling capital investments and delaying maintenance projects, renegotiating debt, holding back increases in salaries and financial-aid packages.

Deferred maintenance, however, has crippling consequences because the costs tend to escalate over time. The shift to part-time faculty members, already under way during the last two decades, is accelerating, and almost no one knows the consequences. The use of cost/profit measurements to decide what should be offered as education or what kind of research should be done, already commonplace by the 1990s, is even more intense, just as the goal of greater equity for students seems to be diminishing. The fact that approximately 45 percent of entering college students fail to graduate, with even higher percentages of minority students and students from low-income families, is disheartening. That students are learning much less than they ought to is troubling. Technology has made all forms of education less placebound and more borderless, raising questions about the future for many institutions and opening up entrepreneurial opportunities. Adult students interested in vocational training are essential customers of higher education, perhaps even more so than the once-traditional age group of 17- to 22-year-olds.

The returns of higher education remain high, so the desire to attend will continue. That means the selling and buying of higher education is going to intensify. Corporatization is here to stay. The discontents both within and outside the higher-education industry are not going away.

Marvin Lazerson is a professor of public policy at Central European University in Budapest and an emeritus professor of education at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education. His latest book is Higher Education and the American Dream: Success and Its Discontents (Central European University Press, 2010).


1. richardtaborgreene - October 18, 2010 at 07:48 am

A national commission on unread journals and unread journal articles could simply eliminate more than 92% of all current professors on good grounds. The 8% remaining could then hire 2.2 million new adjuncts to turn out eLearning hybrids like what the Gates' love from Carnegie-Mellon. The problems are big, and old, but easy, afteral, to fix.

2. quidditas - October 18, 2010 at 09:01 am

The "market" ideology is not really the problem for the education industry--and when students are paying tuition it's ridiculous to try to pretend you're not peddling a product, one that includes your ability to evaluate them, not just solicit and placate them as if they were shopping in Bloomingdales.

Most of them want their teachers to put out that effort and the problem is they don't always get it--be honest!--even if they still think they really deserve an A. It's jungle out there in the real world, after all. (Real unemployment is about 17%).

The real problem is global neo-liberalism and the "race to the bottom" labor arbitrage that is making the cost of higher education one that simply cannot be bourne.

One can adjust for this by increasing welfare state involvement in subsidizing tuition, but with many competing needs--including the Obamacare health insurance mandate no one can afford either-- and an unreformed banking system likely to collapse again in 2011 due to stress from the mounting foreclosure crisis, I suspect direct subsidies are already on their way elsewhere. And probably not to bail out Obamacare...

We need a rededication to developing the US domestic real economy--a domestic industrial policy as we had following WWII-- that is only going to come when someon in the government starts making it difficult for the US financial sector to make money peddling effectively fraudulent investment vehicles around the globe that get bailed out by the government when the fraud is discovered, generating even more moral hazard.

There is simply no need to invest in the domestic economy when you can make easy money in debt based ponzi schemes and lazy global labor arbitrage that not only depresses the domestic economy but wreaks havoc abroad each time some multinational pulls up in search of greater fools.

3. wb2ldj - October 18, 2010 at 10:11 am

From my perspective it began around 1980 with the goal of making higher education for the rich or causing young people temptation to enter their lives in to their first mortgage, student loans. As salaries go over $100K and campuses continue to build new multi-million dollar facilities or do a third renovation of older buildings in some cases for extreme waste, the students of some states have to take six years to graduate in order to get the courses to graduate due to state budget cuts while private sector simply jacks up the tuition even more. GS

4. jungianscholar - October 18, 2010 at 10:21 am

While Professor Lazerson's article is well written in many ways, and contains many issues upon which to reflect, he fails to mention a few more impediments to higher education from the late 1950's through the contemporary times.

First, I always naively thought that state colleges and universities always hired quality professors to teach students. Wrong I was. My mentor in Life, Skip, explained that large (and even smaller) state colleges and universities are forever chasing the holy grail of higher education - Grant Money! Oh what schools won't do for State and Federal grant money!!! So they hire professors based on research grant getting abilities and stardom in their usually scientific and technologically focused fields, to bring in large grants. Unfortunately for the students, most of these professors never face a class, or if they do, it is a small, exclusive class of a few graduate students.

What about those large numbers of undergraduates? Well, they get the graduate assistants, untried, and sometimes relativistically uniformed. Or, they get adjuncts, the overworked, underpaid lower class of academia... or maybe an on-line class, with an instructor thousands of miles away!

Years ago, an article in Mother Jone's magazine predicted that the near future would bring a time of bricks and mortar education, with real professors, face to face, for our single digit wealthy elite students, in terms of percentage of overall population, and a hybrid form of learning with some face to face for the middle class. The rest? On-line, asynchronous time, maybe even taught by DVD's!

What is the value of a college degree today? To become a technocrat in our out of balance society, that continually focuses on the techne (masculine) side of society, it will be a way for those to be trained in the narrow focus of mathematics, sciences and scientific applications. Yes, we will make better, smaller computer chips in traditionally shaped organizations of power. We will make more efficient jet planes.

What about the heart? What about art, music, literature, history and education? Who needs them? These feminine focused areas, or the collective anima of our society, are losing ground now. They generally pay what our society values, and it isn't much.

The idea of encouraging young people to throw their future to technology oriented careers, to large global corporations, and a future of uncertainty where they must obediently follow the "official party line" and political agenda of their companies in exchange for "security" and money is anathema to me.

5. impossible_exchange - October 18, 2010 at 10:26 am

As richardtaborgreene notes the piles of unread literature produced by the professorate, he repeats an often touted line of waste.
But such publishing IS NOT WASTEFUL!
I cannot believe that so many people cannot see past their own weltschmerz moment brought about by the disappointing realization that every word they say is not immediately gulped up by their colleagues like they hoped it would be; or like they hope or imagine it is gobbled up by their students.

These publications serve three purposes:
1) The highest aim is to push the field forward, to do research that impacts the world--sometimes that is going to happen by being wrong--somebody has got to do it, it might as well be you.

2) The act of doing the work keeps the professional academic's intellect sharp and involved with the development of their field. Thus allowing them to teach their students the leading "edge" of knowledge and do so with a still agile, intelligent, and engaged mind.
ALL PUBLISHED WORK, WHEN DONE IN EARNEST, DOES THIS. Thus IT IS ALL SUCCESSFUL; no matter who does or doesn't read it.
(I'm sorry, speaking as a former business manager turned humanities academic I've got to add, DUH! to this point.)

3) Such published work provides filler to keep publications going so that the work that actually achieves the first goal has a place to be published in. Each press has its own "style" of thinking, many many ideas would be suppressed if not for a diversity of presses; again, sorry to be flippant but, DUH.

New ideas are EXPENSIVE.
Expensive beyond the simple calculation of economics.
Humanity has been thinking for 100s of 1000s of years. In the process for coming up with new ideas there are going to be lots and lots and lots of bad ones. Also, very often, the work that fulfills the first goal is simply restating many many earlier ideas as a form of synthesis with modifications.
The lament about publications is a sort of common sense argument that should therefore be viewed with far more skepticism that it has been.

That my friends, from the perspective of someone who spent the first third of his life in a very practical, profit driven, and customer orientated profession, is why all that paper matters.

So what if you dreamed that your every publication would change the field but the reality is that it is never read? It changes you and, believe it or not, your students. So, keep it up!

"The higher-education industry has not collapsed, but it has faced complaints similar to those hurled at the automobile and housing industries: chastised for offering overpriced, poor-quality products and services; as inefficient and bureaucratic, unwilling to adapt to new markets, technologically backward, administratively bloated, uninterested in teaching, and more concerned with frills than the core product." While this is certainly the discourse about higher education, this is not the reality. The higher ed "industry" has been remarkably flexible. Adapting new degree paths and technologies continually, perhaps not keeping pace with the new technology sector (hardly a surprise), but the banks' efforts to match that pace has hardly been laudable.
For an "industry" with centuries of tradition, I think that Universities are remarkably nimble and willing to adapt.
This relation of the university to the automobile industry is a dog that doesn't quite have any teeth. Even though its looks catch one's eye, it won't hunt. The profiteering from the CEOs of GM make the profiteering of admins look like child's play.

Finally, "Corporatization is here to stay." Again, I cannot agree. Perhaps, for a decade or two, perhaps only for a half-dozen years, perhaps for a century or two even. But, while we can suspect that the University tradition, which has essentially been around for 1000s of years, will continue for 1000s more in some form or another. We should not be so quick believe that the culture of corporatization, in which we are immersed, but which has only been around for a hundred years or so will continue to dominate the future as it dominates today.
Although, it might look as if it must, the tides of history can turn quickly. Fatalism only ensures that that tide does not turn sooner.
And so, with all do respect: I reject most of the premises that you lay out here.
But thinks for the essay, I enjoyed it.

6. obnubilator - October 18, 2010 at 02:03 pm

While this is an intriguing article, Lazerson misses salient problems in the 'industry'. An exceedingly large one is the millions squandered on the NFL and NBA farm systems that universities have become. Another is excessive compensation for high level administrators. If a uni president is worth half a million (or more) a year, why listen to a faculty member who only garners 90K? Additionally, the quality issue is one that could be solved by fewer (not more) contingent faculty. When these educators have to cobble together 5-8 courses a term to make a living wage, how can they be expected to be effective teachers or make contributions to scholarly endeavors? The lack of cajones at the departmental level to stand up to the bean counters and hold them responsible for poor decisions and to demand the resources to properly staff the faculty is inexcusable, but prevalent. It does appears that the corporate model is here to stay. That does not, however, mean it is the best or even the most appropriate one for the university. Nor does it mean we have to surrender to it.

7. anonscribe - October 18, 2010 at 04:18 pm

I agree that higher education peddles a product, and this product should be evaluated solely by its earnings potential on the market.

History B.A.'s make higher average salaries than Business Administration B.S.'s. English B.A.'s make higher average salaries than Biology B.S.'s.*

I hereby move that, in the interest of the market, we make all Business Administration majors switch to history and all biology majors switch to English. No airy fairy nonsense about the social need for biologists or middle managers. The hard reality is that if we want a well-paid middle-class, we need people with history and English degrees.


8. duchess_of_malfi - October 18, 2010 at 07:33 pm

Demand has risen because the value of the BA/BS degree has deflated with more supply, so everyone needs it and everyone who want more education has to start with it. Consumer behavior is a feature of loan supply. If the higher-ed loan industry has significant trouble, the whole thing changes.

Colleges and universities are along for the ride. That loan money tastes good, and no one says it's wrong, so who does it hurt? My university is gutting traditional graduate education while adding dozens of fee-paying master's programs. At some point, everyone started to aspire to be more and bigger and better, as if that is always a good thing. In the new era, no one was satisfied to meet a focused, realistic mission of service to group X or area Y, teaching focus A or research specialties B and C. Everyone had ambition to move up a level or more, to move from college to university, from good university to better, from great national university to international university. Everyone has to compete for better students, or the same students when supply of students drops, and for better faculty, programs, and facilities. Overreaching? That's a taboo word. Does the desire for income-generating programs tend to impair the mission of universities as research centers? Shhh. What do you think of our new logo?

9. a_voice - October 18, 2010 at 11:27 pm

Jungianscholar asked, "What about art, music, literature, history and education?" i'd say fine thanks. I earn a living in the IT field, and I still care and enjoy those other things. The world is a big place, and there will always be people engaged in all kinds of occupation. Let's not be so negative.

10. fruupp - October 19, 2010 at 12:15 am

#4 wrote: "What about art, music, literature, history and education? Who needs them?"

Evidently, not SUNY-Albany.

11. soc_sci_anon - October 19, 2010 at 08:11 am

For all the griping about profiteering administrators and excessive student services, no one seems to bother mentioning that one of the fastest growing expenses for universities over the past two decades was ... health care costs. Higher education is one of the most labor-intensive "industries" out there, and if health care insurance costs are rising at 10% a year, well, so too are the costs of doing business. I was surprised that unis weren't more active in lobbying for the public option, for real health care reform. I wasn't surprised, however, that parents of college kids didn't make the connection, because most buy the "wasteful universities" meme promulgated by disgruntled professors and right-leaning politicians alike.

12. quiero_leer - October 19, 2010 at 10:48 am

If we consider the supply-and-demand model, I would venture that the LAST thing we need right now, despite campaign slogans to the contrary, is to invest in "more science and math teachers." Evidently, our nation is suffering mightily for a lack of philosophy, literature, music, and history teachers. The country is suffering from a severe shortage of critical reasoning skills. I hope that the all-holy and infallible Market Forces recognize this and invest accordingly.

13. gahnett - October 19, 2010 at 11:55 am

I love the author's observation about the consequences of deferred maintenance.

Today is a sensitive period in higher education. We'd better figure out a response to it and act on it or things will collapse like the many examples happening in global markets. Get sensible people who are not afraid of austerity and wise spending.

14. gsudduth - October 19, 2010 at 02:08 pm

I don't know. This sounds a bit redundant and as if there is some kind of finger pointing going on here. Education has been an ever changing biomorphic agenda for some time in my humble opinion. Sometimes folks in education get to be a little idealistic. I did, and when I found myself in the midst of a consent decree in Louisiana right after Grad school with the promise of the art department if I did a good job. I did a good job but folks just didn't get the same promises I did. I moved on to Arizona and found myself in the community college system nearing the 12 hours spoken of above. That was it.........I was told after developing a course for Pre Engineering using hands on right cognitive learning that I had to drop a course because there was no 'room' for me. I went to proprietary education.
I became the first Dean of Students in a school where there was everything from inbreeding to cronyism and nepotism and for some folks with no degrees at all. Why did I stay? I'm an artist and had a family and thought I could make a difference.
I did for several years and then one day was given the come hither from some jackass I didn't even know.
Education has become the wash of all the things the kind Professor mentions but for some reason, I'm finding it difficult to agree with much that is being said. I think the philosophical approach to this article really lacks exactly what he says in the end, a shortage of critical reasoning.

15. arrive2__net - October 20, 2010 at 09:46 pm

The history lesson in the article is interesting and seems to be on target, and the comments complement the picture it paints. One thing I think needs to be mentioned is that the traditional, medieval university did not have a business school, but covered mostly religion and philosophy. As I understand it, universities later added science, law, health, (+arts?), then k12 education, business, technology, etc. (That may not be the exact order, but my point is they branched out from their original "reason for being", with business and tech being relatively recent.)

It seems to me that the additions of business, health, and tech to universities represented a fundamental change in the world as well as in the university, and those changes really took the university out of its traditional element. Through those changes the university adapted to the modern (corporate) world, and became more entangled in that world.

Most of the majors covered by the for-profit universities are the later, added-on areas of health, business, and tech. They barely cover astrophysics, history, or theater. When traditional universities entered business, technology, etc. they invited the competitive corporate frey, but on some level they brought with them some of the the traditional values of the traditional university. My point is there are differing ways of conceptualizing and recounting the history of the university that may produce differing predictions about its future.

The real question is funding, will US universities continue to get the funding required to keep them the size and influence they have now. There, I think the article is wrong...if the US resumes its former prosperity the universities will flourish with it. They are part of the economic and intellectual engine, and they are the way they are ... for that reason. A university could be a part of that economic and intellectual engine, or it could be a medieval school for grown-up students of religion and philosophy. Both kinds of institutions will be there in the future, as I see it, if the modern university has done, and continues to do its work as well as is needed ... to keep the US smart and capable.

Bernard Schuster

16. arrive2__net - October 20, 2010 at 09:51 pm

That should be "as influential" not "influence".

17. eelalien - October 21, 2010 at 12:26 am

Okay - let's envision a world based solely on "the marketplace" - a world without boring academic endeavors such as the sciences, humanities, history, and on and on. The first thing that comes to mind are the tribal attributes that dictate mere survival in an utterly hostile environment - one that rewards the capture and killing of neighboring enemies as a way of consolidating power.
Is that what we have truly devolved to...?

18. supertatie - October 21, 2010 at 08:11 am

Blaming "the market"? You're kidding, right? That's just people acting in their own rational self-interest. Better to blame the government, which creates the perverse incentives in the first place.

So much of this has been driven by the same well-intentioned but badly misguided sentiments that drive up the costs for EVERYONE, and eventually cause the collapse of the system. And it is the GOVERNMENTALIZATION of the system that feeds the CORPORATIZATION. Government passes laws that implement someone's idea of good policy, and that creates financial incentives which have - *gasp!* - unintended consequences! Let's review, shall we?:

1. Housing? Let's promote the idea that EVERYONE should own a home, and pass a law to "make it so". ("Community Reinvestment Act," anyone?) Then let's have the Justice Department pressure the banks to loan money to people who can't afford to purchase a home. Let's further press Congress to manipulate the lending rules Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac play by, so that the actual values of worthless lending securities are artificially obscured. Let's watch as this trend contributes to rampant buying and "flipping" homes, artifically inflating home values. But eventually the bubble bursts, and the whole system collapses. Who is left holding the bag? Lenders, responsible homeowners who DIDN'T buy more than they could afford, and taxpayers. And this is the "market's" fault? Who ran around telling people they should buy home they couldn't afford?

2. Education? Ditto. Let's preach the sadly false notion that EVERYONE should have a college degree. Then let's throw hundreds of millions of dollars of "free" federal money to students in the form of student loans (on terms more unfavorable than those they would get if they had to borrow from a bank!). Let's watch while colleges and universities push tuition up higher and higher, because now, suddenly, more and more students can "afford" to pay it! Now let's dumb down the admissions criteria and graduation requirements so that those who are borrowing the money can actually attend and get their degree. Let's watch while the average number of hours that students study in a week decline precipitously, while alcohol abuse, depression, and sexual promiscuity skyrocket. Let's, as faculty, complain vociferously, that students all "expect As." (Well, for $50,000 a year, why wouldn't they?)

Then let's watch as the value of the bachelors degrees tanks, and schools and employers push people to go on for masters degrees and doctorates - even in fields where there are no jobs - all of which they pay for with larger and larger amounts of borrowed money - money which they cannot refinance down more than once (unlike a bank loan), and which they cannot repay because they have no job, or a job that won't permit them to repay the loan. And need we mention that even if they CAN repay it, it's now, in essence, a MORTGAGE, for which they don't even own a home? Shall we think for a moment of what this debt does to their financial future?

Where are we now? Tuition has outstripped inflation by double digits. What has done this? The same thing that drove the housing prices up - government intervention, loose monetary policy, and corresponding outsized demand.

Now schools are facing the ugly reality that they cannot, really, push tuition much higher. Tuition expenses have inspired parents and students to demand more - better looking dorms, athletic facilities that look like country clubs, more and more administrative services. (Because administrative costs are the ones that have grown over the past 20 years, not faculty salaries.) And, as one poster noted here, the universities push for faculty who can go get grants, while the meat-and-potatoes work of an institution of higher education (um - that would be TEACHING) gets sloughed off to grad students, many of whom are foreign, and don't even speak English well enough to be understood in a classroom.

This business model (if you don't like the word "business," then "operational model") is failing, and will collapse. And when it does, the schools which can run lean, which have excellent teachers, and which produce meaningful research on a budget are those which will survive.

I predict we will also see more enrollment in vocational schools. community colleges, and professional certifications (like IT training). People expect to be able to do something productive if they pay for an education. Coming out of college $150,000 in debt with a degree in underwater gender studies is going the way of the dodo. Good riddance.

3. Healthcare? Well, here we go again - government will sell Americans a bill of goods that "everyone" can have "free" health care, which of course will motivate people to use much more than they would if they had to pay for it. And when the costs are more than the government can pay, the rationing will start, the quality will plummet, and the system will collapse.

Einstein's law of insanity should come into play at some point, and it astonishes me that people as supposedly educated as college faculty and administration refuse to watch history repeating itself over and over again

The "market" didn't do this; the government tampered with the market by creating the false impression that everyone could or should buy a home/go to college/have all the medical care they want - and by manipulating and obscuring real costs to make it appear as if things are "free" or cheaper than they are. Everything else has flowed from that. Government interferes with demand and drives up the costs, and institutions have to find ways to pay them. When they can no longer do that, the system falls apart.

Simple as that.

19. meshabob - October 21, 2010 at 09:32 am

I find it rather amusing to hear complaints about corporatization from someone on the staff of a college that owes its existence to George Soros's deep pockets. Through his access to countless millions of dollars, he essentially bribed Hungarian intellectuals to become devotees of his Karl Popper flapdoodle. And what has Hungary become, now that Popperism has assumed control? A good place for a hedge fund to rip off the nation's largest bank. Soros's firm had to pay a fine for selling the bank short after disseminating false information that it was facing insolvency. You can't make this crap up.

20. weilunion - October 21, 2010 at 09:47 pm

the industry is a criminal enterprise. See my articles at Truthout.com http://www.truth-out.org/neoliberalism-and-for-profit-predatory-educational-industry-you-cant-regulate-a-criminal-enterprise6

And Dailycensored.com

Also, you will see in my article Kaplan: Blood Bank for the Washington Post at www.dailycensored.com a Yahoo group of students who are fighting the for-profit predatory industry.


I received this from Florida last week:

Danny, would you please contact me regarding your articles on Kaplan University?


Rene D. Harrod
Office of the Attorney General
Economic Crimes Division
110 Southeast 6th Street
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33301
Telephone: 954.712.4600
Facsimile: 954.712.4658

Send all students victimized to Rene.

Thank you

Danny Weil

21. weilunion - October 21, 2010 at 09:48 pm

Dear Mr. Weil,

In light of the recent involvement of the Department of Justice in the lawsuits filed against Kaplan and the GAO's report on for-profit schools' fraudulent actions and your interest and writings about this subject, please find attached an article from the San Diego Reader that mentions Mr. Jajdelski's case that was filed more than 6 1/2 years ago regarding the actions of Kaplan and he is the Relator for all of these cases and below a copy of an email from Mr. Aguirre. I also have attached a pdf of the actual filing in the court of Nevada regarding my case against Kaplan.

I am sure you will find this information valuable and insightful.

If you have any questions or require further information, please contact:
Michael J. Aguirre, Esq., CA SBN 060402

Maria C. Severson, Esq., CA SBN 173967

Aguirre, Morris & Severson LLP
444 West C Strert, Suite 210
San Diego, CA 92101

-----Original Message-----
> From: michael aguirre [mailto:maguirre@amslawyers.com]
> Sent: Saturday, June 19, 2010 7:49 PM
> To: 'Hatch, Timothy J.'
> Cc: 'chris.greene@ed.gov'
> Subject: KAPLAN
> Tim, thanks for taking time to talk with me on Friday. It is clear you have a comprehensive understanding of the facts. I was interested in your observation that Kaplan has been viewed by the Department of Education Inspector General as having assisted in the DOE investigation of overpayments to Kaplan, Las Vegas. I had not previously known that Kaplan was required to refund Title IV funds to the Department of Education from its Las Vegas operations following the Relator's having disclosed his claim to the Department of Education. I was surprised to learn from you that there had been a settlement reached between the Department of Education and Kaplan. Do you know if there was a reason why the Court was not informed of the settlement? I can see from your website that you specialize in False Claims involving Title IV funds. Is this typical to have the Department of Education and defendants in False Claims cases settle without telling the Court. Would you be kind of enough to identify all parties from the Department of Education who participated in the matter leading up to the settlement as well as those involved in the settlement? Also would you please identify anyone from the Department of Justice who participated? I assume you are the only Gibson attorney who participated. If other Gibson attorneys participated would you identify them as well?
> Would you please provide the details of the settlement? Was there a report issued? Was there a written settlement agreement? May we have a copy of any settlement agreement? We would also ask you to provide us with any communications related to the investigation and settlement, excluding attorney client or work product privileged writings? I request that you file with the Court a complete disclosure document regarding the settlement agreement and related facts.
> Finally, I would like to note the following amounts of Title IV funds paid to Kaplan in addition to those identified in the operative complaint.
> In 2005 Kaplan derived more than $500 million of its revenues from Title IV funds. In 2006 Kaplan derived $580 million of its revenues from Title IV funds. In 2007 Kaplan Title IV revenue was $745 million, or approximately 73%, of total KHE revenues. In 2008 Title IV funds accounted for $904 million, or approximately 71%, of total KHE revenues. During 2009 Title IV funds accounted for $1.283 billion million, or approximately 83%, of KHE revenues.
> Again, thanks for your candor. Mike Aguirre

22. dr_orient - October 24, 2010 at 11:52 pm

It might be nice to hear someone talk about what "education" means to us as individuals and as a society. The Church Fathers who started universities had a very specific idea: Education meant that people were trained in rational thinking according to carefully laid out disciplines, in order that they would then be likely to make the optimal ethical choices presented by life. For the Church Fathers, this meant orienting students so that they would attain salvation and assist others to do so also.

Note: rational thinking, as far as I can perceive, is the same across all disciplinary lines; only the terms by which it proceeds differ according to one's discipline (think "professional jargon").

Does anyone imagine that any corporate structure is at all interested in an outcome like the above for students? I don't.

There's a very good reason the humanities are part of traditional curricula. Do they suffice for all the functionings of a society? No, but it isn't hard to picture how, for example, weapons of mass destruction might be employed if we had no constraints on their use.

Corporations exist only for the bottom line - that's how they get shareholders. Universities don't, because they require free exploration of ideas (see the above comments on why no journal article is wasted, even if unread).

Who do we want to be?

23. javant1969 - October 29, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Universities have been complicit in their own demise. They became willing and eager participants in the "military-industrial complex" after world war II and have remained addicted to the government grant monies which flowed from those federally-funded coffers. They are not the innocents who are victims of a growing conspiracy. Rather, they were the conspirators at the table unknowingly setting the path for destruction by degrees. Shame on them...

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