Brown Mackie’s Singular Commitment

In an effort to stay competitive in the global economy, President Obama has called for our nation to have more college graduates by 2020 than any other country in the world. Not all students, however, will find their way to "traditional" colleges and universities — whether public or private. And not all of them will find a local community college (already overcrowded with waiting lists) a good fit for their specific career pursuits.

That's where institutions such as Brown Mackie College fill a void. Our role in helping to build career opportunities for students, especially those who are currently underserved and overlooked by an education system largely designed for the needs of the prior century, is essential to meeting this 2020 vision. In fact, no less than Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has confirmed as much.

The negative connotation often associated with "for profit" makes it easy to conclude that such an institution couldn’t possibly have the best interest of students at heart. It's simply not true at Brown Mackie College. And we believe that the allegations made by a former student in Karen Francisco's Dec. 4 commentary are unsupported, one-sided and unfair. We have contributed to this community for many years, and our greatest sense of pride is in the positive difference we have made in countless successful graduates. Our commitment to ensuring students are making informed choices about their education and setting them on a path to success is paramount.

Francisco’s piece fails to clearly define exactly what improper conduct was employed at Brown Mackie College – Fort Wayne. We have always encouraged students to seek the personal assistance they may need to ensure a successful higher education experience, and it was unfortunate that this former student did not have that experience. We are proud nonetheless of the achievements of countless successful graduates who have earned a Brown Mackie College education.

It is true there is pending litigation involving Brown Mackie College’s parent company, Education Management Corp.

However, the case was initially filed almost five years ago by two admissions representatives at the fully online programs offered by one of the schools owned by EDMC, not Brown Mackie College – Fort Wayne. Additionally, it is important to put the suit in context (which the piece failed to do): The litigation focuses solely on how admissions counselors are compensated and has nothing to do with the quality of education.

But far more concerning are claims that we somehow “enticed” uninformed students into making decisions about enrolling. In fact, everything a prospective student would need to know before enrolling is defined in the Student Consumer Information section of our website. And we offer personal attention and consultation to each and every student, if needed. We go out of our way to be candid and transparent.

The article stated that college credits did not transfer to Ivy Tech Community College. This concerned us, so we looked into it again.

Three of the major national higher education associations in the U.S. signed a “joint statement on the transfer and award of credit” in 2001 that said, “Institutions and accreditors need to assure that transfer decisions are not made solely on the source of accreditation of a sending program or institution.” Ivy Tech’s regional accreditor provides, in its handbook on accreditation, that “the Commission does not dictate organizational policies and procedures for accepting transfer credits, but it holds that good practice requires the consideration of more than the source of the accreditation of a sending program or institution.”

Like many colleges, to ensure all students make an informed decision prior to enrolling, Brown Mackie College communicates to its students when they enroll that we cannot imply, promise or guarantee transferability of college credits to any other institution.

Brown Mackie College – Fort Wayne, formerly known as Michiana College, is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the United States. The college’s long history of offering career education and training dates to its establishment in 1882 as the Fort Wayne Commercial College and continues today with more than 1,300 students enrolled in the institution.

Brown Mackie College offers bachelor’s degree, associate degree, certificate and diploma programs in fields that prepare students for entry-level positions in a competitive, rapidly changing workplace.

Contrary to how unfairly we were portrayed and summarily dismissed in the article, we pride ourselves on doing things right. We want the Fort Wayne community to know that we work to deliver on our promises to students with the highest degree of honesty an ethical behavior. And we strive to be a valued partner in service to the community and the workforce.

An institution should be defined by the success of its graduates, who leave with a firm knowledge base, employable skills and ultimately a career in a chosen field. And we believe anyone who is interested in more than just a one-sided opinion will find all of these things and more at Brown Mackie College – Fort Wayne.

THE JOURNAL GAZETTE

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