All posts by Goldie Blumenstyk

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New Adjunct-Focused Venture Wins Approval to Offer Courses

A new for-profit education organization, designed to give more academic and financial control to the adjunct instructors who teach its online courses, has just won approval from the state of Vermont to operate.

The Vermont State Board of Education’s approval of Oplerno (the company’s name stands for “open learning organization”) means that its courses can qualify for credit at colleges and universities, at the institutions’ discretion.

Robert Skiff, the entrepreneur behind Oplerno, says he plans…

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New Data Shed Light on Use of PLUS Loans and Controversial Loan Denials

Washington — Colleges that have complained that the U.S. Department of Education has been too strict in denying PLUS loans to their students now have a little better picture of the reason for those denials. And policy advocates who say the rules still allow overborrowing by students and families who may not be able to repay the loans may have some new talking points, too.

Data released by the department on Wednesday show that nearly 70 percent of all PLUS-loan applications initially rejected in …

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ACE Report Reiterates Opposition to Proposed College-Ratings Plan

The American Council on Education, which has made no secret of its dislike for the Obama administration’s plan to create a new ratings system for colleges, has released a report offering new grounds for its opposition.

Among them: findings from the recent Freshman Survey that show that students, particularly those from low-income homes, don’t rely heavily on ratings or rankings when choosing a college.

The report, an issue brief titled “Rankings, Institutional Behavior, and College and Universit…

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For-Profit Colleges Add $20-Billion to Economy, Trade Group Says

Washington — The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities has released an analysis that says for-profit colleges have a direct impact of about $20-billion on the United States economy.

The analysis was released as some 200 officials of for-profit colleges, students, and employers of the colleges’ graduates are gathering here for a three-day lobbying push on Capitol Hill against tighter regulation. The analysis, prepared by John Dunham and Associates, also includes localized repor…

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Government Investigations and Suits Against For-Profit Colleges: the Grid

With the announcement on Wednesday by New Mexico’s attorney general, Gary King, that his office was suing ITT Educational Services over alleged misrepresentations to nursing students, a total of 22 state attorneys general are now known to be investigating or suing for-profit-college companies.

Several federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (which also announced a lawsuit against ITT this week), and t…

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For-Profit Ashford U. Forms Alliance With Forbes

Kaplan University allied its business school with Newsweek magazine seven years ago and then scrapped the deal after just two years. Now Bridgepoint Education’s Ashford University has announced a branding alliance with the Forbes magazine company.

Ashford said on Tuesday that it would pay Forbes Media LLC $15-million upfront, plus a minimum $30-million over the initial 12-year term of the deal, for the rights to the company’s online content for use in bachelor’s and master’s programs in business…

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Even After Its Demise, Ivy Bridge College Raises Questions About Accreditation

Paul Freedman, the former chief executive of Altius Education, says it and Tiffin U. were following the rules at the time, but then the regulatory environment changed. (Noah Berger for The Chronicle)

Paul Freedman, the former chief executive of Altius Education, says it and Tiffin U. were following the rules at the time, but then the regulatory environment changed. (Noah Berger for The Chronicle)

Accreditation matters played heavily into Altius Education’s dashed ambitions for Ivy Bridge College.

A document trail, annotated by The Chronicle, highlights the key events in the seven-year saga, which began with an entrepreneur’s dream and wound down under the cloud of a continuing federal invest…

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Higher-Education Company to Sell Its European Operations

The Career Education Corporation has struck a deal to sell its European operations to Apax Partners, a private-equity group, for $267-million in cash, the higher-education company announced on Thursday.

The sale includes a chain of business, communications, and health-care colleges based in Paris, the Inseec Group, that Career Education bought 10 years ago for about $20-million. It also includes the International University of Monaco, which it acquired in 2010 for $6.3-million.

Career Education …

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Prominent Higher-Education Law Practice to Be Acquired

Washington — Dow Lohnes, which calls itself the law firm with the biggest higher-education practice in the country, announced on Tuesday that it was merging its D.C. office into the much-larger Cooley LLP, a nationwide firm of 700-plus lawyers known for its technology expertise.

According to accounts in The Washington Business Journal and other publications, Dow Lohnes has been losing partners for years and had been seeking a firm to acquire it. Its Atlanta office is not part of the deal.

Dow Lo…

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Business Model for Education Venture Calls for ‘Empowering Adjuncts’

So much of the innovation in higher education today seems based on structures that treat faculty members as an afterthought, and a low-paid one at that. A fledgling online-education venture called Oplerno, however, aims to do just the opposite.

It’s based on a business model ensuring that 80 to 90 percent of what students pay will go directly to the people teaching the courses.

There are “phenomenal professors making poverty wages” right now, says Oplerno’s founder and chief executive offi…