The New College Try

Largely under the news media radar, there’s a total wonkybrook going on between the Obama administration and for-profit colleges.

Typical news report (via the New York Times, page A15, 10/1/10):

Rifts Show at Hearing on For-Profit Colleges

Nut graf:

[F]or-profit colleges have become a polarizing force in Washington. On Wednesday, hundreds of students from for-profit colleges rallied at the Capitol, many wearing T-shirts proclaiming, “My education. My job. My choice.”

And the industry has taken out advertisements in many publications, and produced a stream of reports and op-ed articles extolling the colleges’ benefits.

Among those industry groups running ads (many in the Times itself):

The Coalition for Educational Success (“Preparing the New American Workforce”)

Corinthian Colleges (see here for Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin lambasting the Corinthian College “multimillion dollar” ad campaign)

Kaplan (“We Build Futures”), probably the biggest player of all

(For a good overview, check out Inside Higher Ed.)

Critics of for-profit colleges say they suck up too many federal dollars, exploit students desperate for employment, and generally under-deliver.

Defenders of for-profit colleges respond this way, according to the Times:

Lanny Davis, a Clinton administration special counsel who is now an adviser to a group of privately owned for-profit colleges, wrote on The Huffington Post that the government crackdown on for-profit colleges had an elitist, racist feel and seemed to reflect a distaste for profits.

That goes double for Andrew Ferguson in the Weekly Standard. Headline:

Obama’s Crusade Against Profits

The hardworking staff has barely scratched the surface of the crusade against “Obama’s Crusade.”

Stay tuned for more.

 

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