For-profit higher ed company opens national ad campaign
"I don't count?" asks Pamela, the licensed vocational nurse pictured in a full-page ad in Tuesday's Washington Post. "Some in Washington think I don't."
The national ad campaign by for-profit higher education provider Corinthian Colleges Inc. seeks to draw decision-makers and the broader public into a long-simmering debate over whether the federal government should tighten regulations on colleges that operate for profit.
The Obama administration has proposed 14 rules to overhaul the for-profit sector. The most contentious proposal requires programs to demonstrate that they yield "gainful employment" for their graduates and restricts or eliminates federal loan funds to programs that do not.
The campaign, linked to a Web site launched last weekend, includes ads in The Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Miami Herald, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dallas Morning News, Seattle Times and New Jersey Star-Ledger, according to a release from Corinthian.
Peter Waller, chief executive of Corinthian Colleges, said it will run for several weeks at a cost of "several million dollars."
The industry's practices have been under particular scrutiny since the Government Accountability Office reported last month that recruiters at 15 for-profit colleges allegedly encouraged investigators posing as prospective students to commit fraud on financial aid applications or misled them about such matters as tuition costs and potential salaries after graduation. Among those named were Corinthian and Kaplan College, part of the 119,000-student Kaplan Higher Education operation owned by The Washington Post Co.
Federal data suggest that perhaps 36 percent of graduates of for-profit colleges are actively repaying their loans, compared to about 55 percent in not-for-profit colleges.
For-profit providers have fought hard against the gainful employment rule, although industry leaders say they have few or no objections to many of the other proposed regulations. The Education Department netted about 80,000 comments on the rules, according to an account in InsideHigherEd, many of them filed in bulk as part of a massive lobbying campaign from the industry. Donald E. Graham, chairman and chief executive of The Post Co., visited members of Congress to lobby for Kaplan Higher Education. (A Corinthian spokesman said The Post did not charge the company a discounted rate.)
The ad campaign from Corinthian urges readers to call members of Congress and say, "Put the brakes on this bad rule."
The ad states that as many as 100,000 working Americans would lose their jobs if the gainful employment provision took effect, and that up to 1 million students would "lose access to educational opportunities of their choice."
There are widely varying accounts of how the rule would affect the industry.
In a nutshell: The Education Department estimates that about 5 percent of all for-profit higher education programs would be effectively shut down by the rule, because they yield graduates with unacceptable levels of debt, and that about half the sector would face some level of restriction because of high graduate debt loads. For-profit leaders say the true impact is much higher -- somewhere around one-quarter to one-third of all programs effectively shuttered.
(For details on how the gainful employment rule actually works, read this previous post.)
This independent, industry-funded study suggests that about one-third of students might be displaced by the gainful employment rule.
An independent analysis by Education Sector, a nonprofit think tank, comes down closer to the Education Department's findings: "About 4 percent of programs would become ineligible for federal student aid, while 16 percent would remain fully eligible. Another 65 percent of programs would retain eligibility for student aid but have to warn prospective students about the debt levels they are likely to incur. The final 15 percent would fall into the "restricted" category and would have their enrollment capped."
I am quoting Ben Miller, of Education Sector, who blogged on his findings.
The Ed Department will publish final regulatory language Nov.1.
Follow College Inc. on Twitter.
Daniel de Vise
| September 22, 2010; 6:58 PM ET
Categories: Aid, Finance, For-profit colleges, Marketing, Public policy, Research | Tags: Corinthian Colleges ad, for-profit ad campaign, for-profit colleges, for-profit higher education, for-profit lobbying, gainful employment
Save & Share: Previous: Strike draws attention to inmate workers in GMU dining halls
Next: Independent colleges launch 2020 graduation push
Posted by: penn6020 | September 22, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: transparencyfirst | September 23, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Youhavegottobekidding1 | September 23, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: penn6020 | September 23, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: mport84 | September 24, 2010 5:25 AM | Report abuse