By Professor Doom
Ctrl-Left hate site Huffington Post has a massive article on a trend of for-profits associating themselves as non-profits. While this has been going on long before Trump, they’ll blame it on him all the same. I’ve seen it before, but this time they kind of have a point:
The person in charge of higher education at the department is Diane Auer Jones, a onetime official in George W. Bush’s Department of Education who worked for some of the most powerful operators in the previous for-profit scandals.  Before entering the administration, Jones operated a company associated with the private student loan industry and the main trade organization of for-profit colleges.. Soon after starting at the department, Jones promptly threw out all of the regulatory work that her predecessors and career staff had been developing…Jones’ proposed rules, released in January, amount to a sweeping deregulation of higher education.
So this is definitely happening under Trump’s watch. Fair enough, he should drain this part of the swamp…truth be told, there are wide swaths of swamp (all of it) which still need draining. I wish HuffPo found this as much of a problem pre-Trump.
Hey, remember when I proposed at some point they’d start doing college courses without instructors? Those days are apparently coming:
…they include abolishing…a rule that bans federal aid to programs where students don't interact with an instructor.
It is certainty that if federal loans can go to courses with no instructors, such courses will be created…not having to pay an instructor will lead to never-before-seen profit margins!
I concede I’m not absolutely necessary, most students, with very hard work, can learn the concepts I discuss in advanced math classes all on their own. I’m perfectly fine with legitimate tests granting college credit, cheaply and quickly. Of course, we all know that won’t happen. College will be just as expensive, but now the 14% spent on instructors will just go to the already huge profit margins in higher ed. Capitalism will see to it in short order, and as the above example shows, no amount of regulation will stop it.
The rules, if adopted, would also weaken the power of accreditors,
I do wish HuffPo would look more closely at accreditors, who already have no power at all. I remind the reader that the penalty for UNC’s nearly 20 years long systemic fraud was basically nothing: a year’s probation with no fines or firings. There are no penalties for violating accreditation rules because accreditors are utterly impotent. This is by design, of course, as accreditors are run by the same people running the schools being accredited.
So I’m not too concerned about accreditors being weakened, although I can forgive HuffPo for not understanding the irrelevancy here. Weakening accreditors is about as harmful as knocking a few shingles off of what remains of Notre Dame’s roof: the real damage has long since been done.
If Jones’ proposed rules are finalized later this year, it will be almost impossible to prevent another armada of private profiteers from rolling in. This time, they will be much harder to detect. By now, the public is largely aware of the dangers of shady for-profit colleges. But OPMs are taking Katzman’s approach of “the more invisible, the better” to extremes.
The above is true, and certainly a concern but…I think the public is getting pretty aware of the dangers of shady state and non-profit colleges as well. I won’t be so foolish as to think capitalism won’t find a way to exploit our government’s stupid student loan scam some more but it does remain to be seen how well this new “cloaking system” will work.
Noodle will charge a fee that, according to Katzman, equals about 34 percent of tuition revenue.
What’s particularly funny about this is how much it highlights the utter incompetence of the people running our schools. The faculty at most schools are quite capable of setting up online courses (much as I have done half a dozen times, at least).
…in five years, the number of graduate students went from 800 to 6,200, with HotChalk getting as much as 80 percent of tuition revenue.
Of course, this would require the “leaders” hiring legitimate faculty, paying them fairly, and treating them well enough that they’ll stick around in case there are problems (schools typically get rid of the faculty setting up online courses a few years after they do it. I know this with certainty, for some reason…). It would take a few years, but then the school would get all the tuition revenue, instead of losing so much of it to a for-profit school sneaking under their banner and besmirching the school’s reputation.
Wow, that sounds like actual work, requiring integrity and an interest in doing the right thing for the school. Too bad most every “leader” I’ve seen in higher education is far more interested in selling out the school as quick as possible to make as fast a buck as possible.
At USC, the complaints say, it went deeper. Four people were indicted, including a senior athletic department administrator who allegedly coordinated the flow of bribes and fraudulent admissions.
I maintain the corruption is simply so extensive, particularly among the leadership caste at our institutions, that further regulation is irrelevant. Yes, Trump holds some responsibility here by not removing someone who is getting rid of more (ultimately useless) regulations…but when the administrative job description includes “coordinate the flow of bribes…” the issues are vastly deeper than insufficient regulation.
I doubt I’ll live long enough to see the end of the student loan scam, but when that time inevitably comes, I do hope some of my ideas for fixing what remains will be considered.