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Private for-profit colleges against the ropes with Obama proposal August 24, 2013

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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President Barack Obama is spearheading a controversial new effort to make college more affordable in the United States. While it is easy to protest parts of his new plan, including a new ranking system that will be used to determine where the government backed student loans can be used, one of his messages has gained major traction. That is, government money should not be spent on predatory institutions where students rarely graduate and frequently default on their student loans. Explaining what he perceived as the problem of private for-profit universities, Obama stated:

“That there have been some schools that are notorious for getting students in, getting a bunch of grant money, having those students take out a lot of loans, making big profits, but having really low graduation rates.  Students aren’t getting what they need to be prepared for a particular field.  They get out of these for-profit schools loaded down with enormous debt.  They can’t find a job.  They default.  The taxpayer ends up holding the bag.  Their credit is ruined, and the for-profit institution is making out like a bandit.  That’s a problem.”

The facts seem to support Obama’s claim, according to a recent article published in The Atlantic. The crisis now is not just for students. The crisis moves now to these “predatory” for-profit universities. How should they defend themselves? How can they justify their practices? How can they improve their numbers? One thing is for sure at these universities: the budget for PR just grew immensely.

For more on this issue, see the following story:

Discussion Questions:

1.  How are private for-profit universities being defined by the Obama administration as a growing problem in the United States?

2.  What is at stake for these universities in this debate?

3.  How should these universities respond?

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