EDUCATION DIVE: Inside Higher Ed founder regrets lack of transparency in sale

Career College Central Summary:

  • A top editor of Inside Higher Ed said Friday that, in hindsight, he wished there had been more transparency about the sale of the publication's controlling interest to a private equity firm that has invested heavily in for-profit education.
  • “We were founded without any support, then we had one set of investors and we had never said anything about them," Scott Jaschik, an Inside Higher Ed founder and editor, told Education Dive. "In hindsight, I wish we had, because clearly this is of interest to people."
  • A controlling interest of the trade publication was acquired in November by Quad Partners, a New York private equity firm with investments in a number of for-profit higher education enterprises. However, the sale wasn't  publicly disclosed until the Huffington Post reported on it Wednesday.
  • Given Inside Higher Ed's frequent reporting on for-profit higher ed and related policies, the deal inevitably raises concerns about conflicts of interest.
  • "Obviously with any potential purchase, we talked to Quad and we talked to others about these issues. We stressed editorial independence 100%, and they were comfortable with that," said Jaschik. "Never once has there been anything that challenges that."
  • Aside from Quad Partners' investments in the sector, Lincoln Frank, a managing partner in the firm, was co-chair of the Coalition for Educational Success, a group formed to lobby against the U.S. Department of Education’s gainful employment rule and other for-profit regulatory measures. Among its for-profit higher ed investments are Beckfield College, Blue Cliff College, Dorsey Schools, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and Marinello Schools of Beauty.
  • A call to Frank had not been returned at the time of publication.
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