the inherent problem with for-profits…

An excerpt of testimony at a DOE public hearing last Thursday, from a former DOE official who was responsible for monitoring for profit educational companies:

What is most valuable about college is often nebulous and unpredictable. Indeed, one of the most important goals of a liberal arts education is that it prepares — even propels – – students to explore and expand the boundaries of knowledge and creativity: that is how we advance as a society. Because the profit motive’s unrelenting focus on measurable efficiencies can get in the way of that quest, higher education has traditionally been provided by churches, charities and public institutions where the profit motive is muted.

A degree is whatever a college says it is, the founder of the University of Phoenix said (somewhat ominously) 15 years ago. With an amorphous product like a college degree, investors are invited to spend little on educating, while maximize federal aid and recruiting students who are least likely to be able to demand real value for the money. Any college is capable of exploiting students and taxpayers, but the likelihood is greater where there is a conflict between the owners’ financial interest and what makes for a quality education….

Read the full article here.

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