For-profit colleges party in Vegas

With a cameo from George W. Bush, private sector colleges reminisce about the good old low-regulation days

Topics: Student Loan Debt,

For-profit colleges party in VegasGeorge W. Bush (Credit: Reuters/Chris Keane)

The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) kicks off its annual three-day conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that almost 25 percent of its 65 sessions will be closed to media and the “non-members,” including several that “concern how the colleges are complying with new regulations on student recruiting and student-loan practices.” One such off-limits session: “What the New Consumer Finance Protection Bureau Means for Private Sector Colleges and Universities.”

Let’s stop and think about that for a second. For-profit colleges generate the vast majority of their revenue from taxpayer dollars in the form of government-backed student loans. Therefore, our taxpayer dollars are being used to pay for closed-door training sessions in which for-profit administrators are getting tips on how to evade federal regulations.

Am I being too cynical? Federal regulations are really complicated! Surely everyone could use a tutorial. But my charitable inclinations quickly faded after watching a Fox News interview promoted on APSCU’s website with APSCU’s president Steve Gunderson. In the segment, in between ridiculous softball questions from the Fox News host, Gunderson explains that the 90/10 rule (limiting the total percentage of revenue that for profits can derive from government student loans to 90 percent) and the Obama administration gainful employment rules (which tie aid eligibility to a demonstrated capacity for graduates to pay back their student loans) are making it harder for minority students and military veterans to get educations.

The Fox News host makes one glancing reference to the bad reputation of the for-profit sector — but only in the context of the poor performance of for-profit college stock prices. There is, of course, zilch about high withdrawal numbers, terrible student loan default rates and dodgy recruiting practices.



Ah, if only we could turn the clock back to the days of George W. Bush, whose Education Department was packed with appointees boasting strong ties to the for-profit education sector, and who could be depended upon to relax regulations on for-profit colleges, rather than tighten them.

Oh wait a minute — we can! George Bush is delivering the keynote address for the APSCU conference on Friday.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>