This article includes news items that didn’t quite make the cut for part 5 of my annual review of the year in ed-tech

Trump University

Although there had been some talk of trying to postpone the Trump University trial until after the inauguration – when he claimed he wouldn’t be so busy – or to run the thing without Trump, it looks like there won’t be a trial concerning fraud allegations after all.

Via Politico: “Trump steps up fight to keep Trump University deposition videos secret.”

Here are some reading suggestions from ProPublica: “The Absolute Best, Most Terrific Reporting on Trump University.” And the latest on the court case/Trump University scandal: Via NPR: “Texas Governor Linked To Trump University Fraud Case.” See also, via The Texas Tribune: “In Texas, Trump U Shut Down After State Scrutiny.”

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Trump University Can Take Fraud Case to New York's Highest Court, Judge Rules. Ruling will likely delay trial until after November presidential election, representing victory for presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.”

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi spoke on Wednesday night. (The education angle here, as Vox points out: “Pam Bondi decided not to sue Trump University – and got a $25,000 donation from Trump.”)

Via NPR: “Trump University Is Like Other For-Profit Colleges But Without The Degree.” So, sorta like a coding bootcamp?

Via The Daily Beast: “A U.S. judge has declined Donald Trump’s request to throw out a lawsuit that accuses the Republican presidential nominee of defrauding students of his Trump University, one of three cases involving the defunct institution.”

“Trump Video Depositions in University Suit Won’t Be Public,” Bloomberg laments.

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Trump University Fraud Suit to Go to Trial, Judge Rules.”

Trump vows to re-open Trump University. We can only hope it’s as a coding bootcamp.

Via the NY Daily News: “N.Y. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says case against Trump University is ‘a straightforward fraud case’.”

Via The LA Times: “Woman wants out of lawsuit against Trump University, but Trump’s lawyers say no.”

Via Vox: “Donald Trump tries to name and shame Trump University students who criticized him.”

Via Politico: “Trump University: Teaching real estate – and making money.”

Via Vox: “Bad news for Donald Trump: a court strengthened a fraud lawsuit against Trump University.” More via The New York Times.

As the US Presidential campaign spiraled down down down down down down down this week, the media turned its eye to Trump University, as if this is going to be the big “gotcha” that derails Donald Trump’s campaign. (See: The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, Inside Higher Ed.) A New York appeals court also continues its scrutiny of the scam. More on that in the section below.

“Trump on witness list in fraud case against now-defunct Trump University,” reports Politico.

We know about Trump University. But apparently there was also the Trump Institute. According to The New York Times, “Trump Institute Offered Get-Rich Schemes With Plagiarized Lessons.”

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi spoke on Wednesday night. (The education angle here, as Vox points out: “Pam Bondi decided not to sue Trump University – and got a $25,000 donation from Trump.”)

Via The San Diego Union Tribune: “Trump University trial goes on despite presidential win.”

The Presidential Campaign

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Dubious Claim in WSJ Editorial About Laureate.” That WSJ piece suggests that Laureate Education has been spared the scrutiny other for-profit companies have faced under the Obama Administration because of the company’s ties to Bill Clinton.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Fact-Checking Trump Assertion on Clinton For-Profit Ties.”

“Did Clinton University Break The Same Law As Trump U?” asks The Daily Beast.

President Trump

For-Profits: Phase 3

Via the AP: “For-profit colleges expect fortunes to improve under Trump.”

Lobbying and Campaign Contributions

Via The Intercept: “As Trump Settled University Lawsuit, Top Trump Adviser Newt Gingrich Coached For-Profit College Lobbyists.”

Mandatory Arbitration

Via Buzzfeed: “ Students Ripped Off By For-Profit Colleges Discover They Can’t Sue.”

Financial Aid

Via Inside Higher Ed: “For-profit institutions that cater to service members see chance to connect with students in Senate-passed provision expanding access on military bases.”

Elsewhere in for-profit higher ed: “Veterans Groups Seek a Crackdown on Deceptive Colleges,” The New York Times reports.

According to data released by the Department of Education (and reported by Inside Higher Ed), “the number of for-profit colleges eligible to award federal financial aid fell to 3,265 last fall, down from 3,436 in fall 2014, a decline of 5 percent. The number of public institutions grew by one and the number of private nonprofit colleges grew by 26 over that year (from 1,883 to 1,909).”

“GI Bill funds still flow to troubled for-profit colleges,” Politico reports

Gainful Employment

Politico looks at some of the data for-profit universities are disclosing about how they might fare under the “gainful employment” rules.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The main association of for-profit colleges in Washington on Thursday asked Education Secretary John B. King Jr. to delay implementation of the Obama administration’s ‘gainful employment’ rule that is aimed at cracking down on for-profit colleges.”

Via Politico: “The Education Department is once again pushing back the timing of an interim step in its implementation of the Obama administration’s ‘gainful employment’ rule, which aims at cracking down on for-profit colleges. The department says it won’t start the 45-day clock on data challenges from colleges (initially slated to begin today) until ‘later in June.’”

Obama vs. For-Profits

“After ITT’s Demise, More Trouble Is Likely for For-Profit Colleges,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“Crackdown on For-Profit Colleges May Free Students and Trap Taxpayers,” The New York Times frets.

The US DOE’s sunk costs into for-profit colleges” by “mathbabe” Cathy O’Neil.

The Department of Education is “Getting Ready for Another Corinthian,” says Inside Higher Ed. “Education Department may soon tell more colleges to set aside money to cover federal loan discharges and other costs in case institutions collapse or become financially strapped.”

How the Department of Education Could Fix For-Profit Colleges” by Angus Johnston.


Via Politico: “As much as one out of every four dollars in federal student loans flowing to for-profit schools offering associate’s degrees or certificates could be eligible for forgiveness because of the school’s fraud, the department [of education] estimates.”


Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Akron’s Financial Outlook Is Downgraded to ‘Negative’ by Moody’s.” The university recently decided not to partner with the for-profit ITT, and I do wonder if that decision counted as a positive or negative in Moody’s assessment.

Via the Debt Collective: “Former ITT Tech Students on Strike!” (Debt strike.)

The Department of Education has created a website for students from closed for-profits. It took them two weeks after the announcement that ITT was shutting its doors to do this. Heckuva job. More via a Department of Ed blog post on what it’s doing to support these students. tl;dr: emailing them, holding webinars, using social media.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools this week said it will decide whether or not to sanction ITT Technical Institutes after a hearing scheduled for December, according to a federal filing from ITT.”

Via The New York Times: “Woes for ITT, a For-Profit School, Bode Worse for Its Students.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools has ordered ITT Technical Institutes to prove why it shouldn’t lose its accreditation or otherwise be sanctioned, the company told investors on Thursday.”

More via Angus Johnston, Tressie McMillan Cottom, “Dean Dad” Matt Reed.

ITT is also facing lawsuits from its employees who say that the for-profit chain violated the federal Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification Act, which requires a 60 day notice before mass layoffs. Employees claim they were not notified that the company would be closing.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “New-student enrollment at institutions run by ITT Educational Services Inc. may drop by 45 to 60 percent over roughly the next six months, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to a new corporate filing by the company.”

More bad news for ITT: Inside Higher Ed reports that ITT’s accreditor could revoke the for-profit’s accreditation.

Via The Washington Post: “Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has filed a lawsuit against ITT Educational Services, one of the largest operators of for-profit technical schools, for engaging in abusive sales tactics and misleading students about the quality of its programs.”

SNHU will take over Daniel Webster College from ITT.

440+ ITT students are now on debt strike.

“More than 20 Senate Democrats have signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education John King asking the Education Department to support former ITT Technical Institute students by discharging their student loans,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Education Management Corporation

Via Inside Higher Ed via Wikileaks: “A former adviser to Bill Clinton co-founded a corporate consulting firm that did communications work for Education Management Corporation, a for-profit college chain, as well as a company that does student-loan default-prevention.”

Via The Portland Press Herald: “A troubled for-profit college network that was led by former Maine Gov. John McKernan controlled a nonprofit foundation in Portland for years that critics say should not have had charitable tax status and may have been designed to help circumvent federal rules governing access to student aid programs. Education Management Corporation, the Pittsburgh-based college network, disputes the charges, saying the foundation operated in accordance with tax law and that its giving did not help it get around the federal rules.”

Bridgepoint Education

Via Inside Higher Ed: “For-profit Ashford University, facing loss of access to GI Bill benefits by month’s end, needs approval from a state to stop thousands of student veterans from losing aid.”

“Iowa’s Department of Education last week dropped its opposition to a request by Ashford University for more time to resolve a challenge to the for-profit university’s eligibility to receive students’ Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits,” Inside Higher Ed reports.


“U.S. Education Secretary John King Jr. last week affirmed an administrative judge’s March ruling that relieved now-defunct Decker College of a $31.6 million repayment the Education Department demanded the for-profit institution make in 2005,” reports Inside Higher Ed.

“$31 Million Court Win for a For-Profit College,” Inside Higher Ed reports. “Federal judge backs finding that an accreditor misled the Education Department about a now-closed for-profit institution, and relieves most of the college’s debt.”

Inside Higher Ed reports that a federal appeals court will allow a lawsuit to move forward against Heritage College.

Via The LA Times: “Insurer pays $13.5 million to resolve federal claims over defunct Marinello beauty school.”

Sports Team University

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A ‘Sports University’ Gives Student-Athletes a Chance to Play but Outsources Their Education.” What could go wrong?!

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Two higher-education agencies in North Carolina are looking into the company calling itself Forest Trail Sports University and could nix its plans to team up with Waldorf University, a for-profit institution based in Iowa that operates mostly online.”


Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, a group representing for-profit colleges and universities, is once again changing its name, it announced on Monday. Now the group will be called Career Education Colleges and Universities, to reflect its focus on career training.” Here’s the organization’s press release, announcing the rebranding.

Puff Pieces

Here’s a puff piece in Education Dive about the for-profit Ubiquity University.


Via Inside Higher Ed: “University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart has opted not to pursue an extension of her current contract, a decision coming months after she drew flak for deciding to join the board of for-profit college company DeVry Education Group.”

DeVry University has a new CEO: Lisa Wardell.

On the heels of criticism of UC Davis’ chancellor being on the board of Devry, folks are now noting that the University of Arizona’s president sits on it as well.

“UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi quits DeVry board under pressure,” The Sacramento Bee reports. Katehi remains a UC Davis Chancellor.

Globalizing For-Profits

“One of India’s largest colleges, Amity University, is expanding into the US with the purchase of one campus in New York and a proposal to buy two more, drawing opposition from state officials in Massachusetts about the quality of the education it will offer,” the AP reports. More from Quartz.

The BBC has found that more than £500,000 in tuition fees, loans and grants have been awarded to West London Vocational Training College in Cardiff, a private college being investigated for fraud.

“Thousands of students of at least four colleges have been left in limbo with huge debts following the collapse of one of the country’s largest vocational education companies,” The Sydney Morning Herald reports. The colleges in question: Aspire College of Education, The Design Works College of Design, RTO Services Group, and the Australian Indigenous College.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A private Indian university system planning to expand into the U.S. recently purchased a 170-acre, 11-building campus on Long Island but has canceled plans to acquire two campuses of the for-profit Art Institutes, one in Boston and one in New York City, after the deal came under scrutiny from state regulators in Massachusetts.”

Zenith Education Group

Inside Higher Ed on the “next act” of Corinthian Colleges: “Zenith Education gets a new CEO and $250 million from its guaranty agency owner, to continue effort to reinvent career education and recover from shedding 29 campuses and 23,000 students since buying the remains of failed for-profit.”

The Department of Education announced a new monitor to oversee the Zenith Education Group, which bought Corinthian Colleges’ campuses. The department had fired the previous law firm in charge of this after finding that there were conflicts of interest in Zenith’s relationship with it.

Laureate Education

Inside Higher Ed reports that for-profit higher ed company Laureate Education has “reached an agreement with Eurazeo, a European investment company, to sell Glion Institute of Higher Education and Les Roches International School of Hotel Management for $384 million.”

Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Election Casts Spotlight on an Unusual For-Profit With Global Ambitions.” That “unusual for-profit” is Laureate Education.

Via The Washington Post: “Inside Bill Clinton’s nearly $18 million job as ‘honorary chancellor’ of a for-profit college.” The for-profit: Laureate Education (which once began as the tutoring chain Sylvan Learning and is now an investor in Coursera, I always like to point out).

University of Phoenix

“Apollo Education Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix and Western International University, announced Thursday that it would eliminate the use of mandatory arbitration clauses in students’ enrollment agreements,” Inside Higher Ed reports. These clauses prevent students from suing.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Leader of U. of Phoenix Says It’s ‘Heads-Down Focused’ on Improvements for Students.”

The University of Phoenix is opening a “Center for Learning Analytics Research.”


“‘Apple store for education’ to debut in downtown Las Vegas” reads the Las Vegas Review Journal headline. The “store” is actually a startup accelerator run by the University of Phoenix and a place where UofP’s coding bootcamp Iron Yard will run its classes.

Coding Bootcamps

Via PBS NewsHour: “Why high-tech boot camps are appealing to students and lenders.” (Note that last word there: lenders.)

“Are coding bootcamps only for the rich?” asks Techcrunch.

Could Computer Coding Academies Ease the Student Loan Crisis?

Thinkful (a company backed by Peter Thiel) is reaching out to Devschool students with this offer: “Send us your bill and we’ll apply half of it to our bootcamp.”

Course Report has released its latest report on coding bootcamp graduates. “Coding bootcamp alumni report a 64% increase in salary” reads the subhead. Other details: “The typical attendee is 30 years old, has 6.8 years of work experience, has at least a Bachelor’s degree, and has never worked as a programmer.” It would be great if there were independent evaluations of bootcamps, not just this self-reported survey stuff. But rah rah rah!

Why Do Students Choose For-Profits?

Via PBS Frontline on for-profits: “A Subprime Education.”

“Dean Dad” Matt Reed writes about research that suggests for-profits led to the rise of adjunct labor.

From the press release: “Education Department Releases New Graduate Earnings Data for Career College Programs.” Among the findings: “Overall, mean earnings of graduates of public undergraduate certificate programs are nearly $9,000 higher than mean earnings of graduates of for-profit undergraduate certificate programs.”

“Why For-Profit Education Fails” by The Atlantic’s Jonathan A. Knee.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new study co-authored by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the State University of New York at Buffalo finds that the streamlined curriculum at for-profit institutions is the reason many poor students – particularly young African-Americans – drop out.”

“Do employers frown on for-profit colleges and online degrees?” asks The American Economic Association. Yes. Yes they do, although the mistrust is less for those completing vocational programs – good news for the coding bootcamp providers, I guess.

Via The Pacific Standard: “It’s Not Just For-Profit Schools That Are Failing Students.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “U.K. report on for-profit colleges in six countries finds few benefits of sector and calls for tighter regulation, while acknowledging lack of data makes it hard to set rules.” From the report, “relative to the public sector, the quality of provision, especially in the for-profits, is often found wanting, while tuition fees are usually higher.”

Via The Hechinger Report: “Strapped for students, nonprofit colleges borrow recruiting tactic from for-profits.”

Via the AP: “New for-profit medical schools springing up across US.”

Via Eater: “Culinary Schools Are Getting More Expensive – Should You Go?”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Newt Gingrich and U.S. Representative Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, are slated to join Career Education Colleges and Universities at an event Friday. The group, which is the primary trade organization for the for-profit sector, is announcing a new campaign to close the skills gap with five million trained professionals.”

Audrey Watters


Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2016

A Hack Education Project

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