Posts Tagged ‘school’

This summer, the U.S. Department of Education introduced a proposal to regulate for-profit universities. Referred to in education circles as the “gainful employment” regulations, the proposal seeks to protect students with the highest financial need who enroll at these institutions, to ensure the likelihood that they will be able to find employment and repay their loans after completing their certificate or degree programs.

The Department of Education is proposing a new sanction, namely that if the for-profit programs are not producing “gainful employment” opportunities for these students, those institutions will lose their student aid eligibility — a major source of income for these education companies. As usual, the issue has raised partisan rancor in several congressional hearings (the latest on Sept. 30) held by Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

As a not-for-profit, four-year and graduate residential university, my institution is not directly affected by these federal rules. But they do bring a critical issue to light for all of higher education, for-profit and not-for-profit alike: What are we doing to prepare and enable our students to secure jobs and succeed in an increasingly competitive and dynamic workforce, especially for those in the highest-need brackets? Are we doing enough? Are new models needed?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the youth unemployment rate reached 19.1 percent in July, and the United States is experiencing some of the worst youth joblessness of the post- World War Two era. These statistics should sound an alarm across the nation. While penalizing for-profit universities for programs that produce little results and high debt for their students might be an effective short-term solution to protect students and our student loan system, we need a broader national vision from Washington, from corporate America, and from higher education about how to ensure that our young people have a future in our nation’s workforce. Punitive measures from the government and “business as usual” from our nation’s colleges and universities just won’t cut it. Students need a new deal — a promise of access that can actually lead to job opportunity when they complete their degrees.

With the state of our economy, the question is even more urgent for students and their families: What will a degree get me after I graduate? In the salad days of job opportunity, we university administrators could afford to wax a bit more vague about this. For many traditional academicians, this question might even seem out of place. After all, college is about imparting knowledge, the collective inheritance of humanity — not about something as mundane as a job.

Of course that is the case, but our students also want and need to work. I see this mindset in the kind of students we attract to Stevenson University. Almost one-third are first-generation college students. Their parents did not attend college, but they nurtured that dream for their children. These students expect that attending college will lead to a good job, and they consciously chose an education with programs and experiences structured to help make their dreams a reality.

Several years ago, representatives of Maryland’s public and independent colleges and universities joined forces with the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board on a listening tour, dialoging with business leaders around the state about the kinds of programs and initiatives that prepare students to work successfully in their companies and economic sectors. This tour was extremely productive and helped to build the kind of collaboration that higher education, business and government need.

But this process needs to be national, continual and at the top of the president’s and Congress’ agendas.

President Barack Obama’s “Skills for America” initiative, announced Oct. 4, is a step in the right direction. By encouraging partnerships between community colleges and industry, students will be able to connect their educations to careers, many in new and emerging industries. This initiative should also move beyond community colleges to four-year institutions, public and private, that are serving many of the nation’s highest-need students.

What else can higher education do? Diverse employment internships should be a near mandate across college curricula; federal and state employer advisory boards for higher education can update academia on the changing and emerging workforce skills for industry; and we should promote career development standards and requirements that challenge our students and grow their skills as much as their academic coursework expands their knowledge.

Instead of punitive measures that might ultimately limit access and discourage students and working adults from achieving a degree, we need creative measures from leaders in education and the top policymakers that ensure degrees — and the college experiences that support them — remain relevant in an increasingly dynamic and global workforce. Career education should not be sidelined; it needs to be front and center in our strategic institutional plans and national economic policy.

Kevin J. Manning is the president of Stevenson University with campuses in Stevenson and Owings Mills. His e-mail is

The first time I remember a person in my life telling my I was “worthless, stupid, and wouldn’t add up to anything” is when I was 8 years old. I put on a nursing outfit and walked down the stairs to show everyone that this is what I wanted to be when I grew up. I got down the last stairs and was told to go upstairs and take it off because I would never be a nurse because I was worthless and stupid. I have an 8 year old son now and I think of those damaging words everyday while looking at him and wondering how can an adult say something like that to a child.

I grew up in foster care, my mother died when I was three and my father turned to alcohol to drown his grief. I just wanted to let you guys know that the hateful words did not come from my family, but from two teachers that were raising me. Because of that faithful day I really didn’t have a passion in school and had no one with patients to teach me what I needed to learn to be able to go to further my education, and daily I heard though hateful words. I moved to Florida when I was 21 years old, and began my many jobs, and by many I mean in 17 years I had 17 jobs. Working retail, optical labs, moving companies, telephone operator, etc. I wanted to be one of though happy people that I saw driving to work everyday in their expensive cars, they just seemed to have a life that I wanted.

I had my son in 2002, and was in a very violent relationship. I had left my son’s father 7 times in 16 months, and then the faithful day happened, he took his rage out on our 16 month old son. I left and moved back to Pennsylvania and stayed in a domestic violence shelter, not my first, and that is where I knew that I needed to go back to school and do something that I could support both my son and myself.

My current college was not my first college, I’m not going to name the school, but it was a very awful experience for me, and after 6 months I decided that college wasn’t for me and that everyone was right, I was stupid and worthless. Well one day looking online I saw an ad for Medical Billing and Coding, I started thinking about it and I answered the ad, well after answering the ad it took only about 5 minutes and I got my first phone call. It was Trace, I start to laugh because of the 5 minutes it took him to call me. Well during our first conversation I learned so much, and I can tell you he wasn’t just selling the school to me, he was talking to me about what I wanted to do and earning my trust. After an hour of talking with Trace I hung up the phone and I felt like I just got one of the biggest pep talks and I finally felt good about myself.

Well Trace and I had many phone calls after that and worked very patiently with me about getting me signed up. I started my first classes in March and I have never looked back, and never will, my eyes are set for 2012 when I graduate with my Associated Degree in Medical Billing and Coding, and I have also decided to keep going and earn my Bachelor Degree in Medical Health Management and then looking forward to getting my Masters. Everyone deserves an education, and at my school your not just a number, YOUR FAMILY!!! 🙂 I also wanted to let everyone know that they were wrong about me, that I’m not stupid and worthless, as of this semester, which is my third I have gotten all A’s in my classes.

Ann Q.

By Mike Lillis – 08/12/10 09:00 AM ET

As Congress and the White House eye ways to rein in the exploding for-profit education business, some industry leaders are warning policymakers: Don’t overstep.

Recently proposed Department of Education (DOE) rules could hobble for-profit medical colleges at a time when those schools are feeding more and more of the nation’s ever-rising demand for health professionals, cautioned Randy Proto, CEO of the American Institute, a New York-based company that runs schools in Florida, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The rules would slow the growth of career colleges, Proto said in a recent phone interview, and “thwart our ability to meet that need.”

Broadly, Proto wondered why the administration has singled out for-profit schools, while largely excluding traditional nonprofit institutions. That discrepancy, he warned, puts the for-profits at a distinct disadvantage — something that could harm the lower-income students who tend to enroll disproportionately in career schools.

The administration “is trying to define thresholds for certain types of programs and not others,” he said. “The rules are being applied unequally.”

The comments are timely. Career colleges have been under fire after a series of reports suggested that aggressive recruiting, shady marketing practices — even fraud — are common within the industry.

Just last week, for instance, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report that outlined cases where for-profit recruiters obscured the true costs to attend institutions; exaggerated post-graduation salaries and employability in the fields students were entering; and encouraged applicants to lie on submission forms to tap federal loans for which they weren’t eligible.

Read the rest of the story here.