Berkeley College: Focusing on Students, Focusing on Community

There has been no shortage of misrepresentations about proprietary colleges in the press these days, no doubt due to the approaching deadline for the Department of Education's final rules on Gainful Employment. A number of parties opposed to proprietary colleges have been working to impact the final ruling, and securing media coverage that supports their agenda is one way to influence how the final regulation shapes up. Underlying much of the coverage seems to be this misguided concept that all proprietary colleges are created equal, and that they should therefore be equally judged…Read more …

Measuring the Dollar Value of a College Degree (First of Two Posts)

What is the monetary value of a college degree? While economists have concluded that the value of a college degree goes well beyond the earnings a graduate can realize upon graduation, the Department of Education somehow believes that’s not the case, particularly when it comes to degrees conferred by proprietary colleges.  Under the DOE’s proposed Gainful Employment rule, the worth of proprietary college degrees would be measured strictly on the basis of the student’s college debt in relation to his or her earnings 18 to 30 months after graduation. If the debt-to-income ratio…Read more …

Washington Post Editorial: “Government Should Not Hold For-Profit Colleges to a Higher Standard”

In recent years, media commentary on proprietary colleges has often presented a negative and one-sided view of the sector. While focusing on a handful of bad apples, critics fail to recognize the positive outcomes that many such institutions foster for students — many of whom would otherwise be unable to pursue higher education opportunities. It's always refreshing to read coverage with a more balanced view of the Gainful Employment rule and a thoughtful look at its very real implications for the nontraditional students that our institutions so often serve. Over the weekend, the…Read more …

Challenging a Challenge: Young Invincibles Tit-For-Tat Critique

It goes without saying that the Department of Education’s Gainful Employment rule is being fiercely debated by various constituencies and organizations across the higher education sector. The latest example of this comes from a report released yesterday by the national nonprofit group, Young Invincibles, challenging the findings of a separate report by The Parthenon Group, a consulting firm we commissioned to do a detailed analysis of the Department of Education’s Gainful Employment rule. Both reports claim a faulty and flawed analysis. However, whereas The Parthenon Group challenges the architect of the rule directly…Read more …

From Federal to State: Missing the Mark on the Metrics

The higher education sector is undoubtedly in the midst of a significant transformation. Powerful economic, social and technological trends are forcing change. A flurry of federal policies and regulations aimed at holding colleges more accountable for their outcomes are also making their way into higher education, affecting even colleges that are normally considered quite successful. While the main focus of our blog has been on the proposed Gainful Employment rule, we cannot help but comment on activity at the state level where we see examples showing the difficulties, or perhaps the folly, of…Read more …

Kudos to Rep. Joanne Blyton: “GE Hinders Educational Opportunity”

Higher education has been a focal point of the Obama Administration since its earliest days. The President, in his frequently quoted 2009 Joint Session of Congress address, spoke fervently of his desire to ensure that every American completes at least one year of postsecondary education and to position the U.S. as a world leader with respect to our percentage of degree-holders. Ever since, the oft-promulgated ideal of “college for all” has ignited fierce debate among policy makers, educators and advocacy groups alike concerning the issues of higher education access, affordability and attainment for…Read more …

Tuition Costs Down at Proprietary Colleges

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which is the organization within the federal government charged with tracking education-related data, recently released provisional data on student enrollment, tuition costs, and conferred degrees at higher education institutions. Among the statistics that caught our eye (page 5 of the document linked above) was one that contrasted the tuition trends at non-profit, public and proprietary institutions: Average tuition and required fees for full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates at public and nonprofit 4-year institutions increased from 2011-12 to 2013-14, while tuition and required fees decreased at for-profit 4-year…Read more …

Defining “Gainful Employment”: One Definition Does Not Fit All

Recently, we addressed the folly of how the Gainful Employment rule’s potential threat to a well-respected proprietary college such as the School of Visual Arts (SVA) due to the fact that SVA graduates – artists pursuing creative careers – will be hard-pressed to achieve income levels right out of college that will pass the rule's proposed debt-to-earnings rates metrics. The underlying theme is simple: it is prejudicial to define "gainful employment" strictly by the size of a paycheck. Another case in point: A graduate of the finest culinary school in the country who…Read more …

The DOE: Undoing the Progress by Overhauling the Process

 When you dig deep enough into anything – particularly something controversial – you’re likely to come across bits of information that can raise a few eyebrows even among the most loyal to a cause. The Department of Education’s Gainful Employment rule is a perfect example. Indeed, the further you look into the data, methodologies and metrics, the harder it must be to stand 100 percent behind the rule. Take, for instance, the rule’s focus on short-term earnings for college graduates. Under the proposed rule, the Department would measure students’ ability to repay their…Read more …