Open Letter to an Angry Reader

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A comment received at 1:22 a.m. Central Standard Time on Nov. 16 through the contact form on the Career College Central website:

"I have been reading your articles and clearly you have not work at the schools that you are writing for. If you have worked at a for-profit school you must be the most naive person around. Wake up and get a clue. I have only been working for a for-profit school for less than a year and every day they take advantage of students. — Jim"

Dear Jim:

You will probably consider this response long-winded and not entirely relevant to your comment, but if you can indulge me for a few paragraphs, I promise you will be enlightened on a number of matters, including why I …

What is the Purpose of College?

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Our purpose never occurred to us while we were working toward it — and looking back, I'm thankful it did not.

While it seems like longer ago, it's only been about 10 years since my brother and I used to sit together at the kitchen table and figure word problems. The various predicaments they presented were nonsensical and often dark, involving trains heading toward collision or how long the fallout from a nuclear explosion would contaminate the environment. The work seemed more geared to plotting an elaborate terrorist strike, but we were merely working on my homework assignment for a college-level calculus class, and all we had to rely on was our intellect and my $150 graphing calculator.

Thankfully my brother was gifted with mathematics — and …

Why Greed Should Be Reassigned To Major College Athletic Departments

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The athletic departments affiliated with major colleges and universities are considered separate entities and function as corporations unto themselves. But we now know they shouldn't.

The ugliest scandal in modern college history taught us this lesson last week as a football coach more concerned with amassing victories and preserving his own legacy allowed the molestation of more than 20 young boys to go on for 15 years or longer.

You may not believe that all the blame should be put at coach Joe Paterno's doorstep for the alleged cover-up of allegations involving one-time Penn State defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, who has been accused of molesting eight boys through the guise of a charitable organization for at-risk youth. But you're wrong. Paterno – the most powerful man on …

The New Breed of Career Fair-Goers

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The job pool is extremely competitive … and its waters might just be filled with blood.

The new breed of college graduates is a different animal. If you haven't met them yet, your eventual confrontation could be an intense one.

At a few minutes after 10, the doors were opened and from there it was a flood — a three hour-long deluge of awkward hellos, business card and resume exchanges, and intense questioning. The job fair was set up in a gymnasium on a small university campus, and the latest crop of would-be professionals moved around the floor with more athletic agility than would have been thought possible in business attire. The employers' booths were arranged in a large ring around the edges of a gymnasium, and …

Parthenon Group’s Research Study Adds Fight to Career College’s Achievements

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Sounding distant, his feed occasionally breaking up as though a signal hadn't been dialed in, the Parthenon Group's Rob Lytle profiled a study with findings that were suddenly news.

The first notice came via email on Tuesday noting a webinar to be hosted by career education giant Corinthian Colleges. In less than two days, with help from modern technology and an efficient public relations campaign, Lytle's telephone presentation from Europe became a can't-miss event for the higher education realm, and possibly anyone willing to keep an open mind.

On Tuesday, I wasn’t familiar with Lytle or the independent research organization with which he’s affiliated. The Parthenon Group, commissioned by Corinthian, sought to answer some long-lingering questions about career colleges or “for-profit” institutions and their value …

For-Profit Education Policy Trivia

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Let's play a little game of education policy and research trivia. Read the below statements regarding the for-profit sector and try to guess when these statements were made.

Private career schools became a front-burner issue for postsecondary education policy about _______ (hint: timeframe)…, in terms of participation in federal programs and in broader discussions about consumer rights and abuses…The impetus…can be traced to one key indicator: rapid increases in the amounts defaulted by students participating in federally guaranteed student loan programs

The sudden interest in proprietary schools generated by the debate over default led to several subsequent policy discussions. One had to do with the level of debt appropriate for young people entering the labor market, another with the increasing proportion of overall federal funds for student …

Who Takes the Brunt of The New York Times’ Report?

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In college, I was once asked to figure the half-life of a nuclear bomb, which seemed like a waste of brain power in my opinion. The process involves taking derivatives, which requires division … which to a word person like me involves boredom. Why would the mid-point for radioactivity lingering in the environment possibly be important if there would be no one around to write about it? The question seemed pointless and the answer, which pinpointed a time several hundred years in the future, held no meaning for me.

Almost two weeks old now, The New York Times piece on career education was the starting point for a mathematical analysis on my part, and I kept dividing the numbers until the only figure left was me. …

Eagle Gate College Group Responds to Peter S. Goodman

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Dear Mr. Goodman:

Your article In Hard Times, Lured Into Trade School and Debt raises awareness about a recession-era surge in college enrollments and that education consumers should exercise due diligence in their decisions. However all college enrollments are at an all-time high — not just for-profit colleges and trade schools. Isn't the non-profit sector also a beneficiary of the recession?

One-sided reporting doesn't just hurt the career college industry. It hurts our students, people who have made an investment in the reputation of our school, both in terms of tuition and in terms of the higher education experience they will carry throughout their lives.

Blog: Why We Run Negative News

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I begin every weekday by briefing myself on any news pertinent to career colleges. Sometimes the news is rampant and other times hard to come by. When it's there, it generally fits into one of three categories:

Policy news that affects all sectors of higher education, including career colleges

Acknowledgement of the good we do for the economy and our students. Usually local papers.

Attacks on the entire sector, like the one that ran in The New York Times on Mach 14.

Each time I come across such an attacking, one-sided slam against our sector, I lean back in my chair and sigh. I feel like I’m faced with a lose-lose situation. On one hand, I don’t want to perpetuate a negative image of career colleges. I’d rather nobody …

Blog: In Hard Times, Lured into What School?

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Take a moment to put yourself in a student's shoes. You are at a crossroads in life and desire something more. You know you'll have to work hard for your future and stretch yourself to accomplish your dreams and so you do what it takes. The economy and the pressures of your social image, family expectations and the promise of a career path point you to continuing education. The words from admissions departments, former graduates, publications, marketing, etc. all draw you to accept huge loans that you can't imagine ever paying off in your current life. But your current life is about to change, isn't it?

So you accept federal money, go into debt, and begin to toil for months and months toward graduation and a …

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