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Proprietary colleges bullied by government (regulations that threaten their very existence)
The Barr Code at the Atlanta Journal Constitution ^ | 12/21/2010 | Bob Barr

Posted on 12/21/2010 6:59:07 AM PST by SeekAndFind

Several times during my tenure in the House of Representatives, then-Speaker Newt Gingrich found reason to illustrate a point he was making, by recounting a story attributed to Albert Einstein. According to Newt, when the famed physicist was asked what he considered “the most powerful force in the universe,” he replied “compound interest.”

While I hesitate to take issue with one as renowned as Albert Einstein, I think he was wrong. In my view, the most powerful force in the universe is not compound interest, or even the forces of atomic particles the study of which won Einstein the Nobel Prize. If you ask me, the most powerful force in the universe is the force of the status quo.

Think about it. Can you recall any program instituted by government that was totally de-funded and abolished? And, is it not easier to move a mountain than to have one organization accept competition that might upset the status quo of its monopoly.

Thus it is with the escalating war of words and dollars between traditional (that is, status quo) universities and colleges and the “new kids on the block” — proprietary or for-profit colleges. Considering the vehemence with which the federal government and others are bashing proprietary schools, one might think these institutions were serving up curricula advocating degrees in terrorism, pedophilia and marijuana cultivation.

The reality is that proprietary schools are simply fulfilling a market need by providing many of the same degree programs offered by their more traditional public and non-profit counterparts; but in locations and at times that more conveniently meet the needs of “non-traditional” students. The schools are successfully competing in the market place of academia; and they are upsetting the status quo. For this, they are reaping a whirlwind of regulations and calumny that threatens their very existence.

Two baseball bats with which legislators in Congress and bureaucrats in the administration beat up proprietary colleges, are an undercover investigation conducted earlier this year by the congressional Government Accountability Office; and a 2009 study, also by the GAO, purporting to show that proprietary schools graduate too-few students and saddle them with too-high debt.

The undercover study, in its initial version issued in August, was rife with titillating anecdotes of students being lured into signing up for programs at proprietary colleges by admissions personnel fibbing about costs, job prospects, and graduation rates. The GAO was forced to significantly soften much of the more inflammatory language in the report, and issue a revised version in November. The implied admissions of inaccuracy have caused the credibility of the entire report to be questioned.

The 2009 GAO report was a primary basis on which the Department of Education proposed rules that would severely hamper the ability of proprietary schools to compete with other colleges and universities for access to federally-guaranteed loans. This report claimed that too many proprietary school students graduate with what the feds consider more debt than graduates from other schools. There are sound reasons why this may be the case for many such graduates – they often are members of minority groups, and are already saddled with families and lower-paying jobs that hamper their ability to enter the job market as easily as graduates of traditional schools.

Such facts matter little to those in Congress and the Obama Administration who are busy bullying for-profit schools. More likely what lurks beneath the lofty rhetoric is resentment that these institutions are managed so as to actually make a profit – something taxpayer-funded public colleges and non-profit universities don’t have to worry about. After all, “education” is supposed to be “above” something as crass as profit.

Perhaps the incoming Republican majority in the House will understand that “profit” is not a four-letter word, and that competition challenging the status quo in secondary education is actually a good thing.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Education; Government; Society
KEYWORDS: colleges; education; proprietary; regulations

1 posted on 12/21/2010 6:59:13 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Proprietary schools? Like the University of Phoenix? UoP deserves to crash and burn.

2 posted on 12/21/2010 7:05:49 AM PST by rbg81 (When you see Obama, shout: "DO YOUR JOB!!")
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To: SeekAndFind

NPR is constantly harping against the “for profit” schools for all of the heavily indebted, underemployed graduates they produce.

I guess Yale, Harvard and Princeton are just lean, struggling, altruistic non-profits whose graduates matriculate with no substantial debt.

3 posted on 12/21/2010 7:20:19 AM PST by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics)
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To: rbg81

They bully because these schools aren’t bastions of liberalism.

Forty percent of Americans consider themselves conservative, but 100% of major colleges and universities promote far-left liberalism.

We The People need to take back our country’s colleges and universities. For starters, we need to GUT the Department of Education, terminate the tenure system, and stop sending taxpayer money to institutions who promote a perverted world-view.

Let’s add this to the ‘to do list’ for our new Republican Congress and Tea Party platform:

“De-Liberalize America’s Colleges and Universities”

There are few issues more important to our country’s future.

4 posted on 12/21/2010 7:24:04 AM PST by privatedrive
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To: privatedrive

RE: There are few issues more important to our country’s future.

Better still, conservatives ought to seriously consider sending their kids to CONSERVATIVE COLLEGES. And there are lots of excellent ones.

I know of at least 2 top notch undergraduate colleges that are thriving, not easy to get into, but are INDEPENDENT, refusing any government money at all.

They are Hillsdale College in Michigan and Grove City College in Pennsylvania.

I’m sure there are others.

5 posted on 12/21/2010 7:29:10 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: Dr. Sivana

To be sure, the for-profit schools are predatory of the vulnerable and pricing at levels sustained only by the much greater predatory and abusive tactics, laws, and (fraudulent) market expectations established by the Higher Education business, the Universities, like the Ivy League, like the big State University systems.

The average student graduated college or university in 2009 with $28K in debt that is not-extinguishable by bankruptcy, a lot of it guaranteed by the Federal government, and is stranded in non-career labor under $14 an hour. And that doesn’t include the lifetime costs of the STD that average student now has, or the burden of the habits of immorality today’s college indoctrinates on all most effectively.

6 posted on 12/21/2010 7:39:12 AM PST by bvw
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