Posts Tagged ‘community colleges’

The following letter was sent earlier this week from APSCU President Harris Miller to Dr. Jill Biden regarding the White House Summit on Community Colleges.  While APSCU believes this is a step in the right direction, it is important that Washington not overlook private sector colleges and universities if we are to fulfill President Obama’s goal of the highest percentage of college graduates by 2020:

Dear Dr. Biden:

Congratulations on convening the first Community College Summit.  Your deep commitment to higher education is clear, and your leadership gives those of us who work in higher education confidence that our future workforce is in caring hands.  From business leaders, to lawmakers, to community college administrators and students, your Summit will bring together a diverse and impressive array of stakeholders – all of whom are committed to improving and enhancing higher education.

But one group is missing: the 3.2 million students and the more than 250,000 employees who populate private sector universities and colleges.  We are sorry about this missed opportunity, but we stand ready to support you, President Obama and Vice President Biden and to help attain the goal of the highest percentage of college graduates in the world by 2020.

Our institutions provide paths forward for students who, in many cases, have no other options.  Most students at our schools do not conform to the profile of a traditional student.  For example, 76% are financially independent of their parents; 47% have dependent children; 28% work full time; and 63% are age 24 or older.  Before the discussion turns overly abstract, we should remember the faces and stories of aspiring students.  There are countless examples of people, unable to find success within the traditional educational system, who have turned to private sector colleges and universities — and flourished as a

As you know, our schools work closely with the employer community to ensure that their faculty, curricula and facilities are preparing students for meaningful careers.  Last year, 54% of all new allied health workers and 10% of nurses received their degrees, diplomas, or certificates from private sector colleges and universities.  Though in 2008 our sector represented only 8% of higher education students (we have now climbed to 12%), 15% of all degrees and certificates were awarded by our institutions.  This positive outcome is because our schools focus so intently on outcomes for their students—getting the degree and getting the job.

On September 29, 2010, over 2,000 students rallied on Capitol Hill with lawmakers from both parties to tell their inspiring stories of their time at private sector colleges and universities.  Progressive Democrats and Conservative Republicans—at a time of election-year partisanship—joined hands and stood with these students.  We must follow these students’ lead and together find a way forward.

The millions of students in private sector schools deserve the same attention and encouragement as those students in other postsecondary institutions.  Please don’t forget to include our students in future White House discussions of how best to prepare our future workforce for the 21st Century.  Only by joining forces will we help our country regain its global leadership in higher education and allow many more Americans to achieve their dreams.

APSCU contact: Bob Cohen.

 

From: http://www.career.org/iMISPublic/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Newsletters1&CONTENTID=21401&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm

A recently filed lawsuit alleges that officials of Florida State College at Jacksonville conspired to compete with a for-profit college with a campus in Jacksonville. This is not true.

With an enrollment of 85,000, our college has plenty of students.

What is true is that Keiser University is retaliating against our efforts to raise awareness about excessive student loan debt.

In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, Florida State College at Jacksonville has been significantly involved in efforts to improve student loan consumer protection.

In our view, strong measures are urgently needed at state and federal levels to ensure consumer protection against the abusive practices of some for-profit colleges that can saddle vulnerable students and their families with a lifelong burden of debt without any realistic prospect for repayment.

Such excessive debt often precludes further education and may severely impair the student’s ability to secure future employment and housing. Ultimately, American taxpayers pay for loan defaults, which currently total an estimated $47.4 billion.

Federal studies and investigations have found the for-profit college industry to be at the center of this student debt crisis and have raised serious concerns about some of their business practices.

The leaders of Florida State College at Jacksonville are concerned primarily about the exploitation of students in Northeast Florida by profit-focused colleges as these (typically young) citizens pursue their dream of a higher education.

As one of the largest and most comprehensive public colleges in America, Florida State College at Jacksonville offers nearly every program of interest at tuition rates among the lowest in the nation.

The college’s commitment to student loan minimization led to the establishment of the Star Opportunity Fund – one of the largest local need-based financial aid programs in the country.

The number of scholarships awarded by the fund to low-income students has increased by 176 percent over the past two years, and the college’s foundation has launched a massive campaign to make far more resources available to students.

Florida State College at Jacksonville officials will continue to combat excessive student debt while working hard to protect the interests of our local college students.

We will not let this lawsuit deter us from our mission of providing high-quality, affordable education to our community, nor will it deter us from sounding the alarm about some of the business practices of the for-profit college industry.

STEVEN R. WALLACE,

president,

Florida State College at Jacksonville

 

From: http://jacksonville.com/opinion/letters-readers/2010-10-08/story/non-profit-collegesconsumers-need-protection?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+JacksonvillecomOpinion+%28Jacksonville.com%3A+Opinion%29

by Grant Explorer on Thursday, October 7th, 2010

For-profit colleges are beginning to launch an all-out war to fight what they see as unfair attacks from such critics as community colleges and the federal government.

Fort Lauderdale-based Keiser University sued a Jacksonville community college on Monday, claiming administrators there maligned its school. At the same time, a group representing 19 other for-profit schools released a study slamming recruiting practices and student achievement at community colleges, which compete for many of the same students and government dollars.

And last week, more than 2,000 career college students and supporters attended a rally in Washington, D.C., to protest proposed regulations that could strip the for-profit colleges of much of their federal aid.

“The misinformation is just extraordinary, and we have been absolutely miserable at defending ourselves,” said Keiser chancellor Arthur Keiser, who also leads the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, the industry lobbying group. “Finally, I think that’s beginning to change.”

The sector has come under fire in the past year, as Senate hearings and federal government reports have raised questions about recruiting practices, student debt and the large amounts of federal dollars the schools receive. For-profits say they are being unfairly singled out.

Keiser claims in its lawsuit that the president and another administrator at Florida State College at Jacksonville launched a smear campaign against Keiser and the entire for-profit sector. The university based many of its claims on documents obtained through a public records request to the community college.

According to the suit, college president Steven Wallace sullied the reputation of Keiser and other for-profit schools in an April 2009 e-mail to a short seller, who would profit if the price of publicly-traded education stocks declined in value, the suit alleges. The community college was launching a new technical school at the time and saw Keiser as competition, according to the suit.

“The new technical college we will launch … is designed, in part, to drive the sleazebags out of our region,” according to Wallace’s e-mail.

The suit also alleges that school officials fed the media stories that for-profit schools “ripped off” their students and provided them with “worthless degrees.” Keiser’s business suffered, with lower than expected enrollments and restricted access to recruit at area high schools.

“They were out to harm our business, and it got to a point where this was intolerable,” said James Waldman, Keiser’s general counsel.

Wallace called the suit “absurd,” adding, “we are not concerned in the slightest because we have done nothing improper.”

Florida State College officials say they suspect Keiser is upset because community colleges have supported tighter controls of the for-profit industry. The U.S. Department of Education has proposed new rules that would limit colleges’ access to student aid if too many students default on their loans or fail to find “gainful employment.”

For-profit colleges received $4 billion in federal Pell Grants and $20 billion in federal loans in 2009, making up the bulk of their revenues, federal data show. And while only 12 percent of college students attend for-profit schools, they account for 43 percent of student loan defaults. Most students in community colleges don’t take out student loans, since tuition is state-subsidized and considerably cheaper.

“We are simply trying to protect our local college students from excessive debt,” Wallace said. “We will continue to do so on behalf of our community and will defend the college vigorously in court. ”

Keiser’s fight is not limited to Florida State College. Last week, it sent 28 students and supporters to Washington, D.C., to join a national rally against proposed federal regulations. Keiser nursing program graduate Greg Shaw, 44, of Tallahassee, was one of them.

“I worked very hard for a program where we lost 60 percent of the students who didn’t make the grade,” he said. “Now I’m hearing people sneering, saying, ‘I understand the government is cracking down on programs like yours.’ It has the effect of devaluing the degree I worked hard for, and it’s offensive.”

Career colleges and their supporters say the industry is being unfairly attacked. For example, a recent Government Accountability Report did an undercover investigation of recruiting practices at 15 for-profit colleges, but didn’t look at other education sectors. Problems were found in all the campuses, with potentially fraudulent behavior at four schools. Keiser was not among those visited.

Several for-profits, including Kaplan Higher Education and the University of Phoenix, have issued a long list of changes to address the problems, including restructuring their pay system so advisers aren’t working on commission, thus discouraging the use of high-pressure sales tactics.

Immediately after the government report, Kaplan suspended enrollment at Kaplan College locations in Pembroke Pines and Riverside, Calif., and that’s still in effect. A company statement said Kaplan is conducting a thorough investigation to make sure students and applicants “are treated in the most responsible and ethical manner possible,” and that employees are following all laws and company policies.

But industry officials say community colleges are also guilty of questionable practices. The Coalition for Education Success, made up of such schools as the Art Institutes and Argosy University, commissioned an undercover operation of practices at community colleges. The report states admission officials wouldn’t release graduation data and gave misleading or evasive data about job placement rates and earnings potential of graduates.

The survey also quotes federal data that shows community colleges have graduation rates of 21 percent, compared to 58 percent for career colleges.

“At a time when community colleges are being touted as the answer for educational achievement and job placement in this country, we found troubling evidence to the contrary,” said Jean Norris, lead researcher on the study.

If all the findings are true, it still doesn’t negate the need for reforms in the for-profit industry, said critic David Hawkins, director of public policy for the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

“The stakes must be extraordinarily high for the for-profits to be responding with such aggressive tactics,” he said. “The regulations proposed would fundamentally alter their business model, which is something they’re not interested in doing right now.”

From: http://www.exploringgrants.com/keiser-university-sues-jacksonville-college/

http://www.nortonnorris.com/pdfs/spotlight-on-community-college-recruitment_10_04_10.pdf

Here is another http://www.nortonnorris.com/pdfs/spotlight-on-community-college-recruitment_10_04_10.pdf

Debunking Career College Myths and the Dismal Truths About Community Colleges

Community Colleges Graduate 20% of their students;
Career Colleges Graduate 58%

The Obama Administration is attacking career colleges at the same
time they are lauding community colleges. They propose sweeping
and arbitrary regulations against career colleges while turning a blind
eye to the deep and intractable problems among community colleges.
A look at the facts would suggest that the Administration is attacking
the wrong target and their proposed regulations would hurt the
economy, jobs — and most of all students.
The President has launched Skills for America’s Future to build a
nation-wide network to maximize workforce development strategies,
job training programs and job placement. He has only included
community colleges. By excluding career colleges, he is unnecessarily
shortchanging millions of students and a wide swath of the nation’s
future workforce. The President should include all interested colleges in
this initiative
The fact is students need more higher education choices not less —
and more information, not less. It is in the students’ best interest to
have all colleges judged by the same standards and treated the same
regardless of the school’s structure (for-profit, non-profit or public.)
Take a look at how community colleges and career colleges stack up:
Community colleges have lower, much lower, graduation
rates than career colleges.
■ Career colleges graduate 58 percent of their students. Community
colleges graduate 20 percent.*
■ Career colleges graduate 48 percent of their African-American
students. Community colleges graduate 12 percent.
■ Career colleges graduate 60 percent of their Hispanic students.
Community colleges graduate 15 percent.

■Community colleges participating in the White House
Summit on Community Colleges have graduation rates as
low as 7 percent.
■ Northern Virginia Community College, where Dr. Jill Biden teaches,
has a graduation rate of 13 percent which results in a total taxpayer
cost per graduate of approximately $74,000.
■ City Colleges of Chicago has an average graduation rate of less
than 7 percent which results in a total taxpayer cost per graduate of
approximately $137,000.
■ Ivy Tech Community College has a graduation rate of 8 percent
which results in a total taxpayer cost per graduate of approximately
$120,000.

Community colleges cost taxpayers more, much more, than
career colleges.  It costs taxpayers more than $32,000 for each community college
graduate, over four times the amount it costs taxpayers for a career
college graduate. Career colleges have similar student loan default rates as
community colleges for similar kinds of students.

It’s the type of student not the type of institution that matters most.
Career colleges have the same default rates as community colleges
when taking into account their much higher enrollments of low income
and minority students.

Community colleges have lower job placement success than
career colleges.

75% of career college graduates find employment within 6 months of
graduation.
Career colleges educate and place students in 17 of the 20
fastest growing fields, with career college graduates representing 42%
of all medical workers.

It’s time that all colleges are held to the same high
standards.  The Obama Administration is attacking career colleges while turning
a blind eye to the larger performance issues that exist at community
colleges.  Career colleges offer access and choice to millions of students
who otherwise would not have a pathway to a higher education
or career. But, these students and their schools are being targeted
through burdensome regulations that must be stopped before they
do any more harm. The President cannot achieve his goal of being the
world’s leader in graduation rates by 2020 without the innovation and
flexibility of career colleges.

To learn the facts visit: http://www.ed-success.org/facts.php

By Caralee Adams on September 2, 2010

The proposed gainful-employments rules aimed at reigning in for-profit colleges may also affect other sectors of higher education, namely community colleges.

“Unfortunately, there is a high probability that community colleges will be swept along with the for-profits into a category that will subject the institutions to greater regulation and reporting requirements,” writes George Boggs, president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Community Colleges in a Sept. 2 update to board members.

AACC has joined with other higher education groups to submit letters of concern to the Department of Education’s proposed gainful-employment rules designed to crack down on abuses in the for-profit education industry.

Boggs urges community college leaders to take the time to contact the department prior to Sept. 9 for public comment to let the regulators know how the rules will affect their institutions and students. While the proposed regulations are complex, Boggs worries that the regulations would limit a college’s ability to respond quickly to the needs of its community by requiring federal approval of programs and would add costly reporting requirements.

AACC, along with several other associations, has signed a letter sent by the American Council on Education and has joined with the Association of Community College Trustees in sending a separate letter to the Department of Education.

In a conference call last month to go over the rules with the department, community college leaders learned that 30,000 of the 50,000 programs potentially covered by the gainful-employment rules were community college programs.

Much of the drive for more oversight was linked to the concern that for-profits were increasingly supported with federal student loans that graduates have not been able to repay. Community college leaders point to the 2008 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) that shows just 5 percent of students in certificate programs at public 2-year certificate programs borrowed federal loans in 2008 compared with 77 percent at for-profits. About 84 percent of private for-profit students in certificate programs borrowed at all in 2008, compared with 21 percent at public 4-year institutions, 45 percent of those at private not-for-profits, and 9 percent at public two-year colleges.

While many feel community colleges will be required to abide by the proposed rules, if they are adopted, leaders in the field are hoping others will voice their concern in public comment ending next week.

Sandra Kurtinitis, president of The Community College of Baltimore County, says she initially had not paid close attention to the gainful-employment proposal because she didn’t think it would directly affect the school. But she is following it now as it might require some additional data collection on graduates and their jobs. While accountability is a good thing, Kurtinitis says response to graduate follow-up surveys is not high, and she thinks it would be a challenge to track students. With 74,000 students in 100 associate degree programs and 200 substantial certificate programs, being required to do this additional data collection would be very significant, says Kurtinitis.

The additional regulation would likely mean adding staff in the research office, which would be difficult as the college is beginning the year with $2.6 million less than last. “We would do it, of course. But it’s an unfortunate time to ramp up the energy to approach collecting the data,” she says. Kurtinitis says she hopes ACCT and others weighing in on the issue might make a difference, but for now, community colleges will have to wait and see.