Archive for Sunday, August 19, 2012

Regents size up for-profit rivals

August 19, 2012


Kansas higher-education officials are expressing concern over the increasing number of students attending for-profit colleges.

A recent national report based on a two-year investigation by the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee alleged widespread problems in for-profit schools.

The report found:

• For-profit colleges received $30 billion per year in taxpayer funds.

• Most of the schools charge higher tuition than community colleges or public universities.

• Many of the schools use predatory and misleading tactics to recruit students.

• Graduate rates are extremely low.

• Many of the for-profit college chief executive officers are paid outlandish salaries.

“These practices are not the exception — they are the norm; they are systematic throughout the industry, with very few exceptions,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the committee.

The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities defended the colleges’ performance, accusing Harkin’s report of twisting facts “in the tradition of ideology overriding reality.”

But at last week’s Kansas Board of Regents retreat, several board members wondered whether public higher education institutions were doing enough to recruit students who now are attending for-profit colleges.

Wichita State University President John Bardo, however, said many of the students going to for-profit schools would not be accepted by universities because the students don’t have an adequate academic background.

“Many of the students they are taking are needing remediation,” Bardo said.

But that brought a sharp response from Regents Chairman Ed McKechnie, of Arcadia. “They are potential customers, and taxpayers. If they don’t fit us, that’s not their problem, that’s our problem,” McKechnie said.

Several higher education officials said they would study the issue more and possibly contact some of the students who chose a for-profit school over a regents university or community college to see why they made that decision.


kuguardgrl13 5 years, 9 months ago

What do you mean by "for-profit"? Is that a private school like Baker or places like DeVry or University of Phoenix? I don't think schools like Baker do a lot with remediation or use misleading tactics. Their administration seems more personable than even KU.

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

Places like the University of Phoenix and DeVry that set out to make a profit. Baker and Ottawa are private non-profits. There's a huge difference between the two.

question4u 5 years, 9 months ago

Baker is a private non-profit and not the kind of school to which the regents are referring.

Jeff Barclay 5 years, 9 months ago

Education is a business. People purchase a product. When given choices most parents and post-secondary student will choose the educational product that can most effectively deliver the the education that matches their goals. Many of the for-profit colleges and tech schools offer degrees that government not-for-profits do not offer. The interesting truth is that both President Bardo and Regents Chairman McKechnie are correct. Many atttending for-profit colleges could not meet the enrollment requirement of KS Board of Regents schools. And as McKechnie points out that is public K-12 school's problem. But the solution will not be more dollars poured into K-12 public schools. Opening the door for K-12 school choice opportunities is one option for parents. Competition can drive improvement in public K-12 education. So could performance based salary increases for teachers. K-12 public school tenure continues to hinder the advance of an improved public K-12 educational product. I find it interesting, but not surprising to read that for-profit schools benefit from tax dollars. Could they be successful with tax dollars? But all not-for-profits benefits from tax dollars, if only for the road infrastructure that brings their students to them. But I also think it to be a bit disingenuous to refer to most public universities as not-for-proft. Beside tax dollars, millions and millions of dollars pour into universites from private enterprise in the form of research grants and endowments. And don't let anyone tell you that major university athletic programs basketball and football programs are not designed as for-profit enterprises. Athletic administrators and coaches make millions on the backs of student athletes. Harkin D-Iowa has a pro-socialist world-view. Successful private enterprise is disturbing to him.

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

The article addresses it. You should read it. The Finns have a more homogenous society, sure, but as of 2010, just 4.6 percent of Finnish residents had been born in another country, compared with 12.7 percent in the United States. But the number of foreign-born residents in Finland doubled during the decade leading up to 2010, and the country didn't lose its edge in education.

The article doesn't address your special ed question, but yes, Finns have special education and mainstream their kids with disabilities. They don't see kids bringing guns to school because pretty much no other country has that problem. Speaking of red herrings, exactly what percentage of each student body would you say is bringing a gun to school and how many points do you think they drag down the PISA score?

Private schools in general do no better than public schools when corrected for socioeconomic status. Charter schools generally do worse.

Is child and parent motivation partially to blame? I'm sure it is, but those kids have the decked stacked against them from birth, and we never do anything in our schools to make it better. I doubt I'd be motivated to do well in school myself if I faced near certainty of never being able to climb out of generational poverty.

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

Way to take the evidence, ignore the bits you don't like, and draw the completely wrong conclusion. You work for Dave Trabert? If not, you should shuck him an application. You've got a talent for his style of cognitive dissonance.

For profit motives don't drive better education. They drive better recruitment. They leave the students high and dry. Offering programs at night or on weekends or near the highway or online are great motivators for recruiting the students, but those same students aren't given the real tools they need to get through the material and become successful. You could argue that an educated consumer base would make informed decisions - but it's precisely an uneducated consumer base that's targeted for education, now isn't it? That includes for-profit charters in k-12. Disadvantaged students are targeted first.

Interestingly enough, I just saw an article pointing out the repeated flaws of looking at education as a competitive choice-driven model for elementary schools.

I'm not a fan of the athletic departments at public universities becoming such a focal point, especially since it's the profit motive that leads them to do so. Precisely the same thing happens with athletes - student recruitment becomes more important than quality education for those stars. However, public universities have a lot more regulation reigning in some of the more egregious behavior than for-profit universities do.

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

High cost for profit online campuses that attract students but don't retain them or educate them are not the future, either. At least I hope not.

KU has been a foot dragger when it comes to non-traditional course offerings, but they're not totally immobile, and they're hardly the only college in the regents. Fort Hays has been doing quite a lot with online offerings for a while. Plenty of regents schools (including KU) have KC campuses for evening/weekend courses.

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

Park University is a private non-profit.

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