Thursday, July 11, 2019

Music Videos of the College Meltdown

While I was updating my College Meltdown bibliography and writing a review of College is Bullshi*t, I found an enormous number of Youtube music videos dedicated to student loan debt. Scholarly sources are fine, but they don't get people to move. These videos vary in quality and genre, from blues to rap, to pop, heavy metal, and country. But you gotta listen. My favorites are Eatin' Me Alive by Ramy B. and Dee-1's Sallie Mae Back. An extremely popular tune, Stressed Out by Twenty-one Pilots, has just one line about student loan debt, but definitely hits on the consequences of youth and making choices.

Works Cited
B., Ramy. “EATIN' ME ALIVE (STUDENT LOAN RAP).” YouTube, YouTube, 10 Feb. 2019,

chescaleigh. “Beyoncé ‘Countdown’ Parody: Student Loan Countdown.” YouTube, YouTube, 8 Oct. 2011,

Cornell, Charles. “Student Loans, You've Got Me By The Balls - Charles Cornell.” YouTube, YouTube, 12 June 2019,

Dee1music. “Dee-1 - Sallie Mae Back (Official Video).” YouTube, YouTube, 11 Feb. 2016,

Dorsey, C. Richaude. “Studen Loan Song.” YouTube, YouTube, 3 Nov. 2016,

ebonysongstress. “Student Loan Song by C. Richaude.” YouTube, YouTube, 5 Jan. 2008,

Grosscup, Ben. “‘Four Years of College’ (Parody of ‘Sixteen Tons’ by Ben Grosscup).” YouTube, YouTube, 28 Feb. 2016,

Hammer, Dave. “Student Loan Blues.” YouTube, YouTube, 2 Apr. 2013,

Harris, Lisa E. “Sally Mizzle (The Student Loan Song).” YouTube, YouTube, 6 Oct. 2016,

Lazer, Glenn. “Student Debt Metal Song.” YouTube, YouTube, 13 June 2019,

pincgator. “PINC GATOR STUDENT LOAN SONG.” YouTube, YouTube, 29 Oct. 2008,

“Twenty One Pilots: Stressed Out [OFFICIAL VIDEO].” YouTube, YouTube, 27 Apr. 2015,

Wilson, David. “Simple Mind (The Student Loan Song) by David Wilson.” YouTube, YouTube, 6 June 2016,

Sunday, July 7, 2019

What happens when Big 10 grads think "college is bullsh*t"?

Pictures speak louder than words. And emotions move people more than rationality.  And the harsh words that Mike Newman (aka Ekim Namwen) speaks in his video "college is bullsh*t" express the anger and depression of a 30-something year old Ohio State graduate who gets it.  While Newman's work is thoughtful and original, the emotions are common in many once-aspiring graduates from state flagship universities who never quite get ahead.

If you can deal with the critical tone and the emotions expressed in this video, it's well worth looking at it from start to finish. If not, start looking at it from 28:30. Newmans's intent has been to finish a serious decade-long documentary on higher education, but two recent suicides at OSU led him to speak out against the madness of higher education: its outrageous costs, its greedy anti-labor administration, and its uncaring bureaucracy.

The College Meltdown has been going on for more than a decade, and things are getting worse. Books critical of higher education could fill a book case or two. That's admirable. And of course, there are some great exceptions amid the meltdown, such as free community college, and potential free market innovations such as TuitionFit, but the general direction of US higher education is downward.

The current reality is that millions of Americans are traumatized and silently suffering. Many Americans regret borrowing so much money to get the college degree they obtained, if they got a degree at all. The average family holds about $47,000 in student loan debt. And aside from a few student debt groups (like the Debt Collective and I Am Ai) and a few adjunct groups, there is very little resistance. Calls for change are met by other calls (by the rich and powerful) to abandon the dreams of higher education.

We can't blame the problems of higher ed just on higher education. US inequality has been increasing for a half century, and it displays itself across society, from "savage inequalities" in the college pipeline to how end of life is medicalized and made so expensive, at the expense of state and federal budgets.

But there has to be some recognition of the damage that has been done by business minded college administrators and college boards, by the madness of crushing student loan debt and underemployment, and the system that turns almost everything good into sh*t.

Related link: "Crapademia"​ and the Mis-overeducation of America
Related link: Education is a Racket (2016)

Thursday, July 4, 2019

US Departments of Education, Defense, and Veterans Affairs Shirk Responsibilities to Servicemembers, Veterans, and Their Families

As a military veteran working to expose some of the most predatory practices by subprime colleges, the idea that anyone at the US Department of Education, US Department of Defense (DOD) or Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would say "Thank you for your service" rings hollow, especially on the 4th of July.

The US  government has systematically shirked its oversight of subprime colleges that target servicemembers, veterans, and their families, especially during the Trump Administration.

I have to give some credit to President Obama for trying to do something against these schools, with Executive Order 13607, but much of that work has been undermined by DOD and VA officials.
I have filed a FOIA and a complaint about Waste, Fraud, and Abuse to DOD, but have been told not to hold my breath. And I have also filed a complaint with the VA, but have even less faith that they will do their job.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Alaska is Leading the College Meltdown. Who's Next?

Related article: Enrollment declines, campus closings, economic losses and the hollowing out of America   


Related graph:  State by State Funding for Higher Education, 2008-2017

In an recent article, titled "Enrollment declines, campus closings, economic losses, and the hollowing out of America," I posted the state-by-state enrollment drops from 2011 to 2018. These numbers are posted here. Alaska was at the top of the list, with a 31 percent drop in enrollment. However, there are other states with significant enrollment losses.

Besides Alaska, New Mexico, Hawaii, Michigan, Illinois, Oregon, Missouri, West Virginia, Montana, Minnesota, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Indiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin have had the largest enrollment losses. What states do about the losses has varied, from austerity and tax cuts on the right side to prison reduction and social investments, such as free community colleges on the left.

What drives austerity, and higher education cuts, depends on many factors, and politics are important. State economies, movement of people and companies out of state, obligations to K-12 education, Medicaid, and infrastructure, enrollment losses and tax structures also play a large part in how dramatic these cuts will be. Alaska's recent cuts are a worst case scenario, but that doesn't mean we won't see dramatic funding cuts in other states and counties in the coming years.

I was reminded by one College Meltdown reader that Alaska was not the first state to feel Republican slash and burn tactics. Louisiana, under Bobby Jindal, felt it.

In fact, eight states cut funding more than 30 percent from 2008 to 2017: Arizona, Louisiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and New Mexico.

While Democrats and Republicans are diverse within their own parties, we can take a first look at the situation by charting higher education enrollment and state control and make the hypothesis that states with the largest enrollment losses and Republican control of state politics are most vulnerable to austerity, at least in the short run.

My first guess for the most vulnerable states? Missouri, West Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Indiana, and as many as 18 other states, because they are Republican controlled. But many others will have to make tough economic decisions, to increase taxes, reduce funding, and to make cuts elsewhere. This is especially true in states like Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The problem with raising taxes is that many people don't like to pay taxes, and they see higher education as an individual choice rather than a public investment. In some cases, they also see (or hear about) administrative largesse and university amenities that border on insanity.

Smart leaders will look for smart (and just) answers.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Laureate Education: Here For Good?

Related link: Vultures Coming After Laureate (2016)
Related link: Laureate Education Turned Against Democracy in Turkey and Latin America (2016)
Related link: Department of Justice Gives Green Light to Laureate Education to Continue Corruption (2018)

Baltimore-based Laureate Education Inc. (LAUR) is fighting for survival. The international for-profit system of colleges is no longer backed by the Clinton Foundation. Its founder Doug Becker was ousted in 2018 with an enormous golden parachute. And its rich and powerful investors are getting more impatient. After corruption scandals in Chile, Turkey, Spain, and now Brazil and after four years of downsizing, Laureate's slogan, "Here For Good" must be posed as a question rather than a statement.

For a decade and a half, CEO Doug Becker went on a buying spree of colleges across the globe, with a boatload of famous people to pitch for them. But since 2015, Laureate has sold or shut down more than 30 schools, and it faces enormous headwinds in the countries where it continues to operate. 2018 and 2019 have been particularly difficult. This year, LAUR even threatened to sell its big US moneymaker, subprime Walden University.
Walden grants more doctorates to African Americans than Howard University, Jackson State, and Georgia State combined.
Brazil, Laureate's largest segment, is facing reducing revenues after student aid was cut. Brazil's President, Jair Bolsonaro, who is terrible for the country is a wild card at best for Laureate. In earlier years, someone in the company might have been able to bribe officials, but those days are probably gone.
Laureate cut corners in Brazil, though, by allegedly forging documents and hiring teachers for classes they weren't qualified for.
While Laureate has continued to pare down its $3.5B debt to just above $2B, most of its profits have come from selling off more than 30 schools. Here's a list of the schools it has sold, closed, or lost contracts with since 2015. More are likely to be sold off in 2019 and 2020. Laureate sold off Bilgi University, but forgot to mention the terrible details.
  1. Centro Universitário do Norte – UniNorte (Brazil) (sold 2019)
  2. Les Roches Jin Jiang International Hotel Management College (China) (sold 2016)
  3. Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University XJTLU (China) (Laureate's online program partnership with the university was discontinued in 2018. The degrees were awarded by University of Liverpool.)
  4. European University--EUC (Cyprus)
  5. Universidad de Las Americas--UDLA (Ecuador)
  6. École Centrale d’Electronique (France)
  7. École Supérieure du Commerce Extérieur (France)
  8. Institut Français de Gestion (France)
  9. BiTS--Business and Information Technology School (Germany)
  10. Pearl Academy (India) (in sale negotiations as of May 2019)
  11. University of Petroleum and Energy Studies--UPES (India) (in sale negotiations as of May 2019)
  12. Domus Academy (Italy)
  13. Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti (Italy)
  14. Universidad del Desarrollo Profesional--UNIDEP (Mexico)
  15. Université Internationale de Casablanca (Morocco)
  16. University of Liverpool (Laureate's online program partnership with the university was discontinued in 2018. All degrees were awarded by University of Liverpool.)
  17. University of Roehampton (Laureate's online program partnership with the university was discontinued in 2018. All degrees were awarded by University of Roehampton.)
  18. Instituto Tecnologico del Norte (Peru)
  19. Universidade Europeia de Lisboa (Portugal) (sold 2018)
  20. Instituto Português de Administração de Marketing (Portugal) (sold 2018)
  21. Monash University (South Africa) (sold 2019)
  22. Universidad Europea de Madrid (Spain) (sold 2018)
  23. Glion Institute of Higher Education (Switzerland and UK)
  24. Universidad Europea de Valencia (Spain)
  25. Universidad Europea de Canarias (Spain)
  26. Bilgi University (Turkey) (sold 2019)
  27. National Hispanic University (US) (closed 2015)
  28. Santa Fe University of Art and Design (US) (closed 2018)
  29. Kendall College (US) (sold 2018)
  30. University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (US) (sold 2019)
  31. Stamford International University (Thailand) (sold 2019)
  32. Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (Jordan) (sold 2016)
  33. Al Kharj Female College of Excellence (Saudi Arabia)
  34. Higher Institute for Paper and Industrial Technologies--HIPIT (Saudi Arabia)
  35. Higher Institute for Power and Water Technologies--HIWPT (Saudi Arabia)
  36. Jeddah College of Excellence (Saudi Arabia)
  37. Mecca Female College of Excellence (Saudi Arabia)
  38. Riyadh Polytechnic Institute--RPI (Saudi Arabia)
  39. Riyadh Tourism & Hospitality College of Excellence (Saudi Arabia)
  40. Al Nammas Female College of Excellence (Saudi Arabia)

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

College Mania!: An Open Letter to the NY Fed (Opinion)

I just about had a heart attack reading the headlines from two NY Federal Reserve researchers in Buffalo, that college was still a "good investment" despite the costs. The authors, Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz, showed a few graphs indicating that college completion still resulted in significant wage premiums, and muttered something about “back of envelope” projections to prove their point.

Are these people mad? Have they not read Annie Nova (CNBC), Jillian Berman (Marketwatch) or Mike Vasquez (Chronicle of Higher Education)? Have they not glanced at Wikipedia or or bothered to use IPEDS help? Have they read Suzanne Mettler’s “Degrees of Inequality”? Have they ever heard of the or College Meltdown? Don't they listen to Dave Ramsey on the radio? The answer is no and probably no, no, no, no, no, no, definitely not because it’s too heavy, no, no, and no.

Have these guys no understanding of the outrageous costs of higher education: tuition, housing, board, text books, transportation, computers, fees, officially licensed college t-shirts, football tickets, concert tickets, pizza, beer, drugs, pregnancy tests, and who know what all else?

Don't they know about the millions who are underemployed after college, the millions that have delayed leaving home, delayed marriage, delayed having children, and delayed starting businesses? Don’t they know anyone who is suffering from the College Meltdown? Have they ever heard of the “gig economy” or talked to an “adjunct professor”? Don't they have friends or coworkers who have nervously cosigned on loans for their children?

Speaking of businesses, haven’t these NY Fed guys figured out that there is a failing for-profit college system, Bryant & Stratton College, luring people with slick ads, whose corporate headquarters is literally two blocks from their office? A school whose target demographics include single mothers with jobs and people with two jobs, who already can't make ends meet?

In 2019, subprime Bryant & Stratton College will be luring hardcore gamers with their esports programs. BSC already has junior college basketball at the dwindling Buffalo campus.

If you read the small print in the NY Fed article, these two wise guys from Buffalo oh so briefly mention that the wage premium doesn’t apply to 25 percent of the people who start. They note that the wage premium is muted in the 40 percent who don’t finish college. And the wealth premium, you know, the actual return on investment after trying to pay off the loans? Forget about it.

They don’t mention that college students are selling their bodies ("Sugar Babies") across the US or selling drugs to get through college. (For the record, I sold my body very cheap to the US Army for an ROTC scholarship to get out of Western Pennsylvania).

These guys don’t mention that more than 40 percent of all student debtors are not paying off their principal. Or that millions of Millennials with student debt are delaying marriage and kids, not starting families or businesses. And by having fewer kids, they are setting the nation up for another phase of the College Meltdown in 2026.

Nor did they note that peak enrollment was in 2010-11 and that numbers have decreased every year since then. I suppose they’d say that was all due to a great economy, like so many others who do not live near reality, even in Buffalo. Really, it would never have anything to do with outrageous prices or record-setting inequality.

And wait a second. Aren’t these two the guys who wrote College is Not for Everyone, back in 2014? What has happened? Have they too contracted College Mania?

Perhaps the men are talking about the business of education, which has been a good investment for some. The higher ed “racket” involving dorm building, restaurant building, gyms and climbing walls.  Or the student loan business that’s booming and student loan asset-backed securities also known as SLABS. Or the online program managers that actually run colleges online. Or the marketing and ad agencies that are profiting hand over fist, as some students literally live in their cars or struggle with hunger. Or maybe they are talking about the bright future behind unregulated “human capital contracts” (What could go wrong?).

But why should I be so angry, literally fed up? The NY Fed is not the only organization feeding the “College Mania!” It’s everyone, aside from Dave Ramsey, Thomas Frank, and too few others. But who reads Thomas Frank? Hopefully it’s the same people who read the two guys from the NY Fed. 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Enrollment declines, campus closings, economic losses and the hollowing out of America

Once again, the National Student Clearinghouse report on college enrollment was enlightening, and devastating. US college enrollment has been declining steadily for at least eight years, and community colleges and for-profit colleges are hardest hit--but that's only part of the story.

State by state losses are not uniform. It appears that they mirror the hollowing out of America.

National Student Clearinghouse reported losses in 40 states, most notably in Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, Oregon, and Montana, and Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Maryland, West Virginia, Florida, and South Carolina, all which have significant and complicated rural histories. 

State      F2011       F2018   Loss/Gain
Alaska 35,473 24,910 31.80%
New Mexico 144,202 111,916 22.30%
Hawaii 65,638 52,043 20.70%
Michigan 633,576 496,668 21.60%
Illinois 758,074 598,316 21.10%
Oregon 253,403 204,007 19.40%
Missouri 411,508 338,230 17.80%
West Virginia 169,510 140,558 17.10%
Montana 55,945 46,610 16.70%
Minnesota 420,655 354,820 15.60%
Arkansas 178,628 151,238 15.30%
Louisiana 261,494 224,534 14.10%
Kentucky 277,688 239,774 13.70%
Indiana 402,850 349,547 13.20%
Oklahoma 211,151 182,507 13.60%
Pennsylvania 755,158 654,165 13.30%
Ohio 689,862 599,111 13.20%
Wisconsin 350,803 304,478 13.20%
Maryland 387,487 337,683 12.90%
North Dakota 56,359 49,329 12.40%
Wyoming 32,729 28,904 11.70%
Iowa 221,732 196,511 11.30%
Nebraska 141,944 126,561 10.80%
New York 1,191,463 1,063,775 10.70%
New Jersey 421,196 379,812 9.80%
Mississippi 180,310 163,428 9.40%
Kansas 203,748 184,721 9.30%
Massachusetts 477,423 433,745 9.10%
Florida 1,077,332 985,508 8.50%
Colorado 320,626 294,234 8.20%
Virginia 529,007 486,141 8.10%
Maine 70,051 64,383 8.10%
Washington 343,300 316,814 7.70%
Vermont 43,201 39,965 7.50%
South Carolina 246,121 229,940 6.60%
North Carolina 555,392 521,522 6.10%
Tennessee 320,979 302,520 5.80%
Rhode Island 72,722 68,503 5.80%
District of Columbia 77,652 73,813 4.90%
California 2,559,423 2,466,138 3.60%
Georgia 525,734 511,152 2.80%
Nevada 112,736 109,995 2.50%
Alabama 294,853 289,738 1.70%
Connecticut 193,381 187,010 1.40%
Delaware 56,103 56,196 0.00%
South Dakota 45,398 46,980 3.50%
Texas 1,431,062 1,485,924 3.80%
Idaho 96,649 100,937 4.40%
Arizona 427,789 448,323 4.80%
Utah* 254,731 344,895 35.40%
New Hampshire* 78,112 152,065 94.70%

A county by county analysis of enrollment patterns could provide even more understanding. In this case, we also see significant declines in urban areas that have been deindustrialized, depopulated, and underfunded. 

Enrollment losses in some cases lead to campus closings, and in some cases these campus closings lead to economic hardship. Conservative economist Richard Vedder has been observing enrollment losses in the Midwest for years. And Elizabeth Hewitt described in detail the economic ripple effects for small college towns in a 2019 Hechinger Report. But the story was mostly about New England. And from what the NSC reports, some of the biggest losses are outside New England and the Midwest.

What's happening in your neck of the woods? Can someone tell us what's happening on in Alaska, Hawaii, and New Mexico, where enrollments are decreasing dramatically and for so many years? Is it just that the economy is doing well, or are there other important stories to tell?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Purdue University doubling down with subprime Purdue University Global

Despite severe and growing financial losses and several campus closings, Purdue University Global (PG) is being kept alive by its famous cousin, the real Purdue University. now prominently displays and links to Purdue University Global.  Purdue’s leaders also proudly support PG as its online school for adult learners, who they acknowledge are not in the same class of students as those at the real Purdue.  

The scheme has gotten so fraudulent that Purdue University Global (formerly Kaplan University) is freely appropriating Purdue's 150-year history, its world-class reputation, and its famous alumni in creating an unethical if not illegal bait and switch throughout social media.

Purdue Global is not a world-class institution. Its educational quality is mediocre, and its student outcomes rival some of the worst actors in for-profit higher education. Global's numbers:
  • 83 percent (320 of 1,910) of PG instructors are low-wage adjuncts
  • spends only 18 cents for every dollar it receives in tuition
  • 20 percent 6-year graduation rate
  • 26 percent student loan repayment rate
  • 53 percent student loan default rate over 5 years
  • More than 30 percent of its enrollees do not even pass basic composition.*
But that's not the story that Purdue University Global says with the help of QuinStreet, a predatory lead generator.

Recently, I visited the online chat that Purdue University Global uses to enroll students, and what I found was extremely disturbing. Not only did they use the Purdue University history, but also its world-class reputation to sell the school. One enrollment person mentioned astronaut Neil Armstrong in trying to sell me a degree.

How long can this scheme continue? Judging by word of mouth, not too long.

*Information provided by Purdue Global insider.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

A preliminary list of private colleges at risk

At the risk of being tarred and feathered again by education insiders, I am compiling a list of US colleges that are at financial risk. I am well aware that there are hundreds of schools in trouble, and that this list just touches the surface.

Why should I present a preliminary list? Because presently, students are not privy to college finances at private schools that they plan to attend. And judging from the decision in the Mount Ida case, it appears that courts do not favor transparency and accountability to help consumers.

I've tried unsuccessfully to reverse engineer the proprietary information of Jeff Selingo and EY. So instead, I've cut and pasted the 2017 Forbes list of schools with financial grades of "D" or less. The methodology for the grades is here. Wishing that Matt Schifrin would continue this important work, but in the meantime, this is all I have.

This list does not include subprime schools and it's not in any way related to instructional quality or student outcomes. Many of these schools are not even on the US Department of Education's Heightened Cash Monitoring list.

I also apologize to anyone at a school with the same name as a school on the list.*
Three schools on the list, St. Gregory's University, Mount Ida and Green Mountain College, have already closed.

While colleges may appear to be on the verge of financial ruin, there is no telling if the school may be saved by an outside force, such as the US Department of Agriculture. 

Adrian College
Alderson Broaddus College (bailed out by USDA)
American International College
Anderson University*
Anna Maria College
Ashland University
Azusa Pacific University
Baptist Bible College and Seminary (Clarks Summit University)
Becker College
Belmont Abbey College
Benedict College
Bethany College (bailed out by USDA) 
Bethel College-Mishawaka
Bethel University
Caldwell University
Campbellsville University
Carson-Newman College
Chaminade University of Honolulu
Chestnut Hill College
Colby-Sawyer College
Columbia College
Concordia College-New York
Concordia University-Chicago
Corban University
Dominican College of Blauvelt
Elmira College
Emmanuel College
Evangel University
Faulkner University
Felician University
Franklin Pierce University
Georgetown College
Green Mountain College (closed)
Immaculata University
Judson University
Keuka College
Keystone College
Lake Erie College
Lindsey Wilson College
Livingstone College
Long Island University-Brooklyn Campus
Long Island University-C W Post Campus
Malone University
Marian University
Martin Methodist College
Mary Baldwin College
Marygrove College
Marymount Manhattan College
Marywood University
MidAmerica Nazarene University
Midland University
Mount Ida College (closed)
Mount Olive College
Mount St. Mary’s University
Multnomah University
Newbury College-Brookline
North Carolina Wesleyan College
Notre Dame College
Nyack College
Oglethorpe University
Ohio Dominican University
Olivet Nazarene University
Ottawa University-Ottawa
Pace University-New York
Pacific Lutheran University
Pfeiffer University
Philadelphia Biblical University-Langhorne (Cairn University)
Prescott College
Quincy University
Regis College
Rider University
Rockford College
Rockhurst University
Roger Williams University
Saint Gregorys University (closed)
Saint Joseph's College-New York
Saint Martin's University
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Saint Peter's College
Saint Xavier University
Shorter University
Sierra Nevada College
Spring Arbor University
Spring Hill College
The College of Saint Rose
The Sage Colleges
Tusculum College
Union College*
University of Bridgeport
University of New Haven
Urbana University
Utica College
Westminster College*
Wheeling Jesuit University
Wiley College

*There are two or more schools with this name

Monday, May 27, 2019

Can Apollo Global Management stem the bleeding at University of Phoenix?

Related Link: University of Phoenix Collapse Kept From Public Scrutiny, As Ads Continue (2019)
Related Link: The Slow-Motion Collapse of America’s Largest University (2018)
Related Link: University of Phoenix: "Where Dreams Die" (2016)
Related Link: Faux Phoenix or Vulture? (2015, 2018)

The collapse of University of Phoenix has been off the mainstream media radar for years. Only the conservative Daily Caller has bothered to investigate the demise of America's largest university. Since University of Phoenix is subsumed under a hedge fund behemoth, Apollo Global Management, it's very difficult to track the collapse. But the old information that we do have does not look good.

Data from fiscal year 2017 show that University lost money in all of its segments, except for Arizona. And that segment, which included the online division, showed only a slim profit. The total annual loss was about $52 million.

University of Phoenix has created cost cutting measures by closing most of its campuses, but that alone may not be enough to gain profitability. When campuses are closed, enrollment and reputation decline. It's notable that Federal Trade Commission has not publicly stated that they are finished with their investigation either.

The UoPX brand is badly tarnished and perhaps beyond repair. Expensive fantasy land media campaigns like "Discover Your Wings" cannot make up for a declining product or service that depends more on word of mouth and the success of those who attend. Apollo Education and University of Phoenix could declare bankruptcy, as other Apollo Global Management companies have done or threatened to do, but that would bring even more bad attention.

I have attempted multiple times to communicate with University of Phoenix, but they refuse to respond. While stonewalling can prevent misquotes and distortions, "playing dead" is not a good sign for any business.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

JLL Partners facing tough decisions with Fortis Colleges and Institutes

  • Related Link: Fortis page
  • Related link: When College Choice is a Fraud (2016)
  • Related Link: College Meltdown: Where's the Bottom (2019)?
  • Now that many publicly traded for-profit colleges have collapsed, College Meltdown is looking at private equity firms that own subprime colleges.

    One of the most notable for-profit college conglomerates, Education Affiliates, operates Fortis Colleges and Fortis Institutes and other lesser known trade schools.  Fortis schools are managed by EA, but they are owned by JLL Partners, a New York City-based private equity firm.

    At least eight Fortis campuses have closed, leaving 32 locations. But many of the remaining schools have been losing money and 14 are on US Department of Education Heightened Cash Monitoring.

    In 2016-17 (the last year available for data), 21 Fortis locations were unprofitable: Centerville, Cincinnati, Columbia, Cutler Bay, Cuyahoga Falls, Grand Prairie, Houston, Indianapolis, Norfolk, Phoenix, Richmond, Baltimore, Birmingham, Cookeville, Erie, Forty Fort, Lawrenceville, and Nashville.

    The problem from the beginning has not been with instructional quality, but with programs offering limited gainful employment. Schools like Fortis offer programs that often lead to low wage jobs, and low wages make student loan debt insurmountable. Student loan repayment rates for Fortis schools range from 20 to 24 percent.

    So how long can JLL Partners continue to let the red ink continue with these assets? Can cuts be made without cutting instructional quality and student resources? And how can Fortis schools compete with free community college in states like New Jersey, Tennessee, and Indiana, where Fortis campuses exist?

    JLL Partners has many notable investors, including the University of Missouri System, Montana Board of Investments, Colorado Public Employees' Retirement Association, Regents of the University of California, Travelers Companies, and the New Jersey Pension Fund. All of these funds need to pay off their obligations; with New Jersey, the pressure to create substantial returns is enormous.

    JLL Partners also owns Ross Medical Education Centers, ACE Cash Express, CATO Research, Medical Card System, Pioneer Bank, Point Blank Enterprises, Viant, and Xact Data Discovery.

    Thursday, May 2, 2019

    Purdue University Global Continues to Defraud Servicemembers, Veterans, and Working Families

    Related articles:

    "The school that systematically misleads students or enrolls those who don't have the capability of succeeding is unlikely to last long. It will have a difficult time making money, and it will build problematic word of mouth in the community in which it operates."--Kaplan CEO Andrew S. Rosen (p. 169) in
    In August 2018, I posted a report about Purdue University and its new acquisition, Purdue University Global. The Big-10 school purchased the former Kaplan University from Graham Holdings Company for the sum of $1, while Kaplan Higher Education would be paid service fees for managing the business. The deal sounded like a windfall for Purdue University, but it really wasn’t. Purdue University Global is in deep financial trouble, and Purdue University is liable for any losses related to Purdue Global’s fraudulent business activities.
    In my earlier report, I alleged that Purdue University Global was using false claims to enroll working people, especially servicemembers and their families. Their advertising and marketing claims offering a “world-class” education were patently false. But their advertising was compelling to the poorly informed. Purdue Global was also employing QuinStreet, a questionable internet lead generator.

    In truth, Purdue University Global’s educational quality is mediocre at best, and its student outcomes rival some of the worst actors in for-profit higher education. Global's numbers:
    Purdue Global has been able to get away with these fraudulent practices because it does not receive proper oversight. The US Department of Education, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, and the Council of College and Military Educators have all looked the other way, as working families, and especially servicemembers and veterans, have been fleeced by the subprime school.

    In April 2019, little has changed in terms of Purdue Global’s fraudulent claims. And as Purdue loses more money (it had a $38 million net operating loss in FY 2018), it will have to make bold moves to survive. While little public information is available, we do know that Purdue Global continues to spend money on television and print ads.
    The ads appearing in the April 15, 2019 editions of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Times made all the same claim, that the school offered a "world-class" education. Purdue Global also placed ads on tv shows like MTV’s Catfish, which was the ultimate in irony. The show Catfish exposes people who pose as something more than they are, deceiving the person on the other end of the Internet connection.

    Monday, April 15, 2019

    Are Brand Name Coding Bootcamps the New Higher Education Scam?

    "Boootcamps may not be technically a scam, but they come awfully close."--Richard Kenneth Eng, former Project Team Leader at ATI Technologies (1993-2000)

    My friend Tom Cal at the Veteran Mentor Network has alerted me about the proliferation of coding bootcamps and their reluctance to tell consumers what they need to know to make good decisions.

    Are these bootcamps meeting all their hype?
    Are they getting their graduates good jobs in coding?
    The short answer is that we don't know.

    The problem is that there is almost no transparency or accountability. That's even though some of these schools are eligible to accept the GI Bill.

    David Halperin has exposed WozU, but how many other brand name coding bootcamps are not working?

    Brand name schools like Penn, Cal Berkeley, Georgia Tech, Northwestern, UCLA, North Carolina, University of Texas, George Washington, and Rutgers would seem to have quality, but are their bootcamps really what they say they are?

    Related article: 8 tips to help vets pick the right college (Military Times)

    Sunday, March 31, 2019

    College Meltdown: Where’s the Bottom?

    How long will this continue? Judging by surveys, and national, local, and business news, it doesn't look good. Further analysis of the terrain reinforces my opinion that the College Meltdown will continue for the foreseeable future.
    Some investors in higher education may be hoping for an economic downturn, because the industry has typically been counter-cyclical. But this time, there may be no guarantee that a recession will improve the financial condition of the industry. Elite schools, for example, rely heavily on investments rather than student enrollment, for capital, and a stock market decline could damage their bottom lines.

    Tuesday, March 19, 2019

    University of Phoenix Collapse Kept From Public Scrutiny, As Ads Continue

    Public information about University of Phoenix has been kept under wraps since 2016, when the school was sold to Apollo Global Management, a large private equity firm where Apollo Education is one of more than 50 assets under management.
    While the University of Phoenix still advertises nationally on television shows such as God Friended Me*, its workers and former workers continue to talk off the record about their school's dire situation, and the lengths that the company will take to keep the numbers up.

    Behind the scenes at UoPX, enrollment has continued to drop, teachers and enrollment reps have been fired, and campuses continue to shutter. 

    University of Phoenix campuses will be closing in Albuquerque, Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Columbia, South Carolina, Detroit, El Paso, Honolulu, Jersey City, Philadelphia, Tucson, Virginia Beach, and several locations in California and Florida.

    But there is no story, so far, in the news about the collapse of America's largest university, because confirmable information is difficult to obtain. The University of Phoenix media room does not return calls or emails. And the culture of silence at the school prohibits the truth from coming out.

    *University of Phoenix advertisement appeared during a new episode of God Friended Me, 3-17-2019.

    Related links:

    The Slow-Motion Collapse of America’s Largest University

    Observations of the College Meltdown in Real Time

    Higher Learning Commission: Accreditation Is No Sign Of Quality